Kimchi Jjigae (김치 찌개)

I've got an updated version of this recipe on my blog now, if you're interested in a prettier looking post!

Kimchi jjigae, a.k.a. kimchi stew, is a great way to use up overly ripe kimchi. If you've ever had (cabbage) kimchi in your fridge for too long, you'll know that the leaves start to turn almost translucent and take on a deeper color. Some people prefer their kimchi extra ripe but for many the taste is a bit too strong and pungent. Personally, I need a HUGE glob of rice with one TINY piece of over-ripe kimchi. I know some recipes will call for some fancier ingredients like gochujang (hot red pepper paste) or dwenjang (fermented bean paste) but really all you need is kimchi and water. And it's an easy recipe because all you have to do is toss the ingredients into a pot and leave it alone for a bit. It's also a flexible recipe because you can go above and beyond and represent all of the food groups by adding in some proteins and carbs, which is how I made kimchi jjigae a few days ago.

Ingredients [serves 4]:
3 cups kimchi plus the juices
1-1/2 cups water
1-1/2 lbs pork ribs
1/2 lb tofu
1/2 package ramen noodles (or a whole package if you love noodles)
Start by adding kimchi, water, and ribs to a pot over medium high heat. Place lid on the pot and bring to a boil.

Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer (with the lid on) for 1 hour, until the ribs are tender. You can test the tenderness by poking the meat with a fork and judging how easily you can stab it.
Meanwhile, boil some water and barely cook the noodles. You want to boil them just long enough for the noodles to separate from each other.
Add tofu and ramen noodles to the soup, and use a spoon to pour the soup over them to flavor everything.
Let the soup/stew boil for another minute or so until the noodles are soft and cooked through. And then, you're ready to serve.
As a kid, I always liked to have a plate to put a few pieces of kimchi and whatever else on so that they could cool a bit. I have this hatred of burnt tongues and I don't do great with piping hot food.
And here's the recipe page, for your convenience:


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