Korean Food 101: Kimchi Jiggae

Disclaimer: I am not Korean. I am Filipino through and through. I do, however, love korean food (and filipino food). Before I met my husband (who is Korean), all I knew about korean food is a korean bbq place called Il Mee in Annandale, VA. Since we met in 2007 (whoa… we old…), he has introduced me to a plethora of different korean dishes which I immediately loved. Except for the really spicy korean food… i’m a weakling when it comes to that.

Another Disclaimer: I am not a good cook. I can follow a recipe and it will turn out fine… but I cannot make things up in my head. I can’t come up with the concept of what goes well with what. So I’m a lost cause… maybe.

My in laws stayed with us this past week and omma was gracious enough to teach me how to cook her version of kimchi jiggae, which is by the way, my favorite kimchi jiggae. I’ve tried them in restaurants, and they just don’t compare.

So in an attempt to share my love for korean food (or any food in general), here’s her “recipe” for Kimchi Jiggae (kimchi soup).

Last disclaimer: when you’re a good cook, there doesn’t seem to be a need to measure anything. Hence, the quotation marks on the word “recipe.” So this is essentially just some guidance on how to make kimchi soup. The measurements will have to be trial and error.

Here is what you will need:

  • Olive Oil – just enough so nothing sticks onto the pan
  • Pork shoulder – cut into cubes (1-1.5 inches in size it looked like)
  • Minced garlic – appa said that the more you use, the better! So throw that in there unsparingly
  • Dwenjang – soybean paste, also spelled “doenjang” which you can find in korean markets
  • Kimchi – not all kimchi is created equal; in-laws say “mat” kimchi is the best one to use for this soup
  • Potatoes – cut into any shape you want (just don’t throw whole potatoes in the soup – that’s not right ;-))
  • Anchovie broth – appa made the broth and swear it ups the level of the soup – he’s right; omma says if you don’t have that, “use water, it’s ok” haha love them!
  • Medium firm Tofu -sometimes in stores you can see on the label that the tofu is for “jiggae” – get that one
  • Onion – coarsely cut, doesn’t have to be tiny
  • Vegetables/toppings – here’s where you can add any veggies or toppings you may want (since I’m not one to know what goes well with what, zucchinni, and mushrooms are a good go-to)
  • Carbs – omma did not add this, but she said you can add rice cakes or noodles to the soup if you’d like
  • Green Onions – “for decoration” is specifically what omma says

Whoa that was a lot. But I promise it’s delish and that’s why I wanted to share it. Ok here’s how you make it… sorta… i mean like I said.. trial and error people.. trial and error.

Heat up that pan on medium-high heat and drizzle some olive oil on it. Add the cubed pork shoulder (maybe 1.5 – 2 lbs worth) on it and start to stir it around.

img_2200.jpg

While that’s cooking, go ahead and put a dollop or more of minced garlic… I mean if I have to measure it… I’d say 2 tablespoons or so? Then mix it together so the pork will have some flavor on it.

img_2201

Time for the dwenjang/doenjang/soybean paste – it does not look appetizing, but what paste does? Trust the process people, trust. I’d say double the size of the garlic but be warned that this is rather salty, so if you want it less salty, don’t put so much on there. Then mix mix mix! Until the outer park of the pork has browned.

img_2202

Then it’s mat kimchi time. See that bowl? That whole bowl’s worth. Hahah.. hmmmm like 2.5-3 cups. Trial and error people, trial and error.

img_2219

Add the cubed potatoes. In this recipe, we used 1.

img_2220

Then the anchovie broth (or water if you don’t have anchovie broth – appa said he’ll teach me how to make it next time so maybe I’ll put a link here if I remember). Bring it to a boil.

img_2221

Then add the vegetables/toppings, onions and tofu. Here’s where you decide how much to put. I don’t think it really matters, but just make sure you have enough broth for whatever you put in there.

img_2209

Then I think you can put the noodles and or the rices cakes the last 3-5 minutes (we didn’t, so no pics of that).

Lastly, the green onion to make it pretty.

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There you go! I hope that was sorta helpful and hope that if you’re interested on making it, that it goes well for you and that you like it.

Thanks for reading and have an awesome rest of the day!

 

 

Korean Food 101: Kimchi Jiggae

Disclaimer: I am not Korean. I am Filipino through and through. I do, however, love korean food (and filipino food). Before I met my husband (who is Korean), all I knew about korean food is a korean bbq place called Il Mee in Annandale, VA. Since we met in 2007 (whoa… we old…), he has introduced me to a plethora of different korean dishes which I immediately loved. Except for the really spicy korean food… i’m a weakling when it comes to that.

Another Disclaimer: I am not a good cook. I can follow a recipe and it will turn out fine… but I cannot make things up in my head. I can’t come up with the concept of what goes well with what. So I’m a lost cause… maybe.

My in laws stayed with us this past week and omma was gracious enough to teach me how to cook her version of kimchi jiggae, which is by the way, my favorite kimchi jiggae. I’ve tried them in restaurants, and they just don’t compare.

So in an attempt to share my love for korean food (or any food in general), here’s her “recipe” for Kimchi Jiggae (kimchi soup).

Last disclaimer: when you’re a good cook, there doesn’t seem to be a need to measure anything. Hence, the quotation marks on the word “recipe.” So this is essentially just some guidance on how to make kimchi soup. The measurements will have to be trial and error.

Here is what you will need:

  • Olive Oil – just enough so nothing sticks onto the pan
  • Pork shoulder – cut into cubes (1-1.5 inches in size it looked like)
  • Minced garlic – appa said that the more you use, the better! So throw that in there unsparingly
  • Dwenjang – soybean paste, also spelled “doenjang” which you can find in korean markets
  • Kimchi – not all kimchi is created equal; in-laws say “mat” kimchi is the best one to use for this soup
  • Potatoes – cut into any shape you want (just don’t throw whole potatoes in the soup – that’s not right ;-))
  • Anchovie broth – appa made the broth and swear it ups the level of the soup – he’s right; omma says if you don’t have that, “use water, it’s ok” haha love them!
  • Medium firm Tofu -sometimes in stores you can see on the label that the tofu is for “jiggae” – get that one
  • Onion – coarsely cut, doesn’t have to be tiny
  • Vegetables/toppings – here’s where you can add any veggies or toppings you may want (since I’m not one to know what goes well with what, zucchinni, and mushrooms are a good go-to)
  • Carbs – omma did not add this, but she said you can add rice cakes or noodles to the soup if you’d like
  • Green Onions – “for decoration” is specifically what omma says

Whoa that was a lot. But I promise it’s delish and that’s why I wanted to share it. Ok here’s how you make it… sorta… i mean like I said.. trial and error people.. trial and error.

Heat up that pan on medium-high heat and drizzle some olive oil on it. Add the cubed pork shoulder (maybe 1.5 – 2 lbs worth) on it and start to stir it around.

img_2200.jpg

While that’s cooking, go ahead and put a dollop or more of minced garlic… I mean if I have to measure it… I’d say 2 tablespoons or so? Then mix it together so the pork will have some flavor on it.

img_2201

Time for the dwenjang/doenjang/soybean paste – it does not look appetizing, but what paste does? Trust the process people, trust. I’d say double the size of the garlic but be warned that this is rather salty, so if you want it less salty, don’t put so much on there. Then mix mix mix! Until the outer park of the pork has browned.

img_2202

Then it’s mat kimchi time. See that bowl? That whole bowl’s worth. Hahah.. hmmmm like 2.5-3 cups. Trial and error people, trial and error.

img_2219

Add the cubed potatoes. In this recipe, we used 1.

img_2220

Then the anchovie broth (or water if you don’t have anchovie broth – appa said he’ll teach me how to make it next time so maybe I’ll put a link here if I remember). Bring it to a boil.

img_2221

Then add the vegetables/toppings, onions and tofu. Here’s where you decide how much to put. I don’t think it really matters, but just make sure you have enough broth for whatever you put in there.

img_2209

Then I think you can put the noodles and or the rices cakes the last 3-5 minutes (we didn’t, so no pics of that).

Lastly, the green onion to make it pretty.

img_2218

There you go! I hope that was sorta helpful and hope that if you’re interested on making it, that it goes well for you and that you like it.

Thanks for reading and have an awesome rest of the day!

Blue Apron

Is it worth it? Maybe…

So my husband and I decided to get a little more adventurous with our cooking. Thanks to a friend of his, we were able to try a 1 week free trial of Blue Apron. Basically, it’s a company that will send you a certain amount of meals a week, with all the ingredients (fresh produce, spices, meat, and the like) already all measured out, ready for you to chop and cook. Along with the ingredients are the recipes, with pictures included so you can follow along and make slightly fancier meals. I believe there is a 2 Person plan (3 meals per week) and a Family plan (2 or 4 meals per week). The 2 person plan is $59.94 (so about $10 per person per meal), and the Family plan which is apparently for 4 people, goes for $138.84 for 4 meals/week (20 $8.67 per person per meal), or $69.92 for 2 meals per week ($8.74 per person per meal). We are using the 2 person plan. Before I get to the recipes that we tried, people wanted to know if it’s “worth it.” I think the answer is “yes” and “no,” depending on what you usually do during the week. Price-wise, I think that it’s worth it if you go out every night, or at least go out a lot, and spend at least $10 on each person. However, if you tend to go grocery shopping and cook mostly, then I think that the price may not be worth it. My husband also stated that he was satisfied after each meal, but he was not substantially “full.” So if you like to be “full-full,” then maybe this isn’t for you. On the other hand, I was pretty full after each meal, so take that however way you want ;-).

Quality time wise, my husband and I planned to cook together and make this something like an activity/hobby for us to do. However, it’s really hard to cook together with a toddler running around like a crazy woman yelling “more! more! more” or “mommy! mommy! mommy!” She does sleep by 7:00- 7:30, but we try to have our cooking done before then because we are just too tired to cook after putting her to bed. Anyway, I think that it’s kind of nice to follow a new recipe together and just kind of cook together, so quality time-wise, it may be worth it. Adding to that, is that once you sign up, you can see the menu a week or two ahead of time, and if it’s something you’re really not interested in, you can opt to not get anything those weeks, and they won’t charge you for that week. So that’s always nice to have that option.

       

Anyway, on to our adventure. The first thing we tried was the “Seared Pork with smashed potatoes and sauteed spinach”. This was a pretty easy recipe to follow and quite easy to get the ingredients at a regular grocery store. I was able to do this by myself while the hubs entertained our toddler. We waited to finish the last part of the recipe (cooking the spinach) until after we put her to bed so that we could eat it in peace and it worked out pretty well! The portion size was not too big, but it was definitely enough for me. We both thought that this meal was delicious and would definitely try again with larger portions. The pork roast they provided was a really good cut. I wasn’t sure if it was the way we cooked it, or the quality of the meat that made it taste really good but the hubs thinks it was the quality of the meat. If it was, then we can attest that Blue Apron gives great quality meat then.

    

The next night, we tried the “Pan-seared Cod with curried basmati rice, snow peas, and mint”. Someone enjoyed this one because the carbs made it heartier. He also loved the curry rice that went along with the cod. For this meal, we tagged-teamed. Since we both got home a little earlier than usual, I was able to chop up all the veggies/produce/spices before we got out toddler from the sitter. Then after we picked her up, he cooked everything while it was my turn to entertain her. We were even able to eat together as a family since we were done cooking before her bedtime. Our little one tried the rice and veggies, but we were greedy and ate the cod by ourselves. ;-). She didn’t seem to mind. See pictures below 😉 The produce for this dish can also be found easily in grocery stores, but the blend of spices they provided may be a little harder to find. This dish tasted pretty good. I forgot to add salt and pepper to the rice while cooking it, so the rice was a little bland, but the veggies and the cod turned out pretty well.

     

The last dish we tried, we put off until the weekend. Along with our toddler, we also had our niece and nephew with us over the weekend so we didn’t start cooking the dish until after we fed all the kiddos their dinner. So while she slept, and my niece and nephew ate popsicles and watched TV, we cooked our last meal, “Turkey Steam Buns with quick cucumber-radish kimchi”.  The ingredients for this dish can probably be found easily in asian markets, but may be harder to find in a regular grocery store. This was a pretty easy dish to cook, but completely impossible for me to put together. So our dish didn’t exactly look like the picture but oh well. It was kind of a korean-american fusion dish with the pseudo-kimchi toppings. But it was pretty good. I was full after eating two, so the hubs was only too happy to eat my last one. I think he was full after that, but I must mention that he did have a cheeseburger from McDonalds and 3 pieces of chicken nuggets before it. What can I say? The man can throw it down when it comes to food. =)

          

All in all, I think that it was kind of nice preparing food that we haven’t tried before. And because the recipe is set and all the ingredients are given, it’s kind of nice to cook a semi-fancy meal without worrying about what to cook and what to buy at the grocery store. Since there is that option of saying no to some weeks, we’ve decided to maybe try it once a month, or twice if we see recipes we would just love to try another week. Not really sure if it’s worth it price-wise, but since the hubs and I are foodies, it was nice to have a few date nights in the comforts of our own home =).