Tag Archives: stew

Soft Tofu Kimchi Stew

23 Aug

The neighbor’s dog keeps wandering into our yard.  Two days ago he made it all the way into our house where we half-heartedly attempted to kidnap him.

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Yes, we are the kind of people who kidnap dogs.

Okay not really.  But this dog is too precious.  And I mean, if you’re going to let your dog wander the neighborhood when you live on a busy road…

I’m just saying, we’d be very benevolent kidnappers.

Actually, my mom went next door to tell the neighbors we had their dog and were hanging onto him so he didn’t wander into traffic.  At first, it seemed like no one was home, so she came back, not having tried too too hard, reporting that they had an enormous tub of kimchi on their porch.

Our neighbors are new, and also Korean.  Well, the wife and the mother-in-law are, anyway.  The dog is not, as far as anyone can tell.

She wrote them a note and returned, and I shouted after her to demand the kimchi in exchange for the dog.

It turned out that someone was home, just didn’t hear the knocking, and came to collect the dog.  No kimchi was gained from this event, to my deep regret.

This is all to show how much I love kimchi.  I like that dog, too, but really I am the kind of person who tries to hold people’s pets hostage in exchange for their fermented cabbage.

Now you know.

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So on the off chance you find yourself in a similar situation, or you acquire your kimchi through more reputable means, here is my favorite recipe involving kimchi.  The recipe is simplified (out of laziness, typically) from Chow Hound.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced (you can substitute broccoli, in which case nix the oil)
  • 1 cup kimchi, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups broth, beef, chicken, or vegetable
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 package silken tofu
  • 2 whole scallions, chopped
  • steamed rice for serving

Recipe:

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the zucchini for about a minute, seasoning with salt.  Add the kimchi and cook for an additional two minutes.

Add the broth and soy sauce and cook until boiling.  Season with salt (or chili paste, a the original recipe recommends).

With a large spoon, shave off chunks of silken tofu and drop them into the stew, being careful not to squish the chunks to pieces.

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I love this stuff.  At first I thought it sounded gross even though I love firm tofu, but then I tried it and wow it is so good.  I need to find more recipes calling for it, or find an acceptable way to snack on it.

Anyway, simmer the stew for about three minutes, letting the tofu soak up flavor and blending the ingredients together.

Garnish with the chopped scallions.

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The original recipe recommends serving the stew in its own bowl with rice on the side, but I like pouring the stew over a pile of rice (partially because it’s spicy and I’m pathetic), so serve however you want.

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This keeps for about a week when refrigerated and is perfectly delicious when reheated.

I just finished a really excellent book called On the Noodle Road, by Jen Lin-Liu.  It’s part travel book, part noodle anthropology.  Lin-Liu’s six month trek from Beijing to Rome began as a search for the origin of the noodle.  Was it Chinese or Italian?  Did it originate in Iran or Turkey and slowly become replaced by pilaf?  Spoiler: she doesn’t figure out where exactly noodles come from, but it hardly matters in light of the food and the people she writes about.  There’s so much food anthropology in this book, from the origins of certain dishes to the traditions associated with cooking in each country she visits, to the food-laden hospitality of everyone she meets, to the mores surrounding each dish.  I also appreciated that, as a woman who recently married and was trying to negotiate married life and professional and emotional independence, she paid extra attention to women’s roles in relation to food and the husband-wife dynamic across cultures.  Travel books are sadly dominated by men, particularly when talking about Asian and Middle Eastern countries, and much as I love the books I’ve read by male authors, I always wonder how their experiences would be different if they were women.  Basically, this book hit all the right buttons for me, and best of all, included a ton of really delicious-sounding recipes that, if all goes well, I’ll be testing shortly.

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