Kimchi-jjigae (Rich Korean Soup)
Traditionally this soup could be served in a large pot in the middle of the table. The whole family would meet and share the meal from the shared pot. It is a bit like a Chinese hot pot or a French fondue. Hot pots, as well as fondue, are very social dinning methods so if you are kinda shy and not at ease with “hot potting” you are of course free to use individual bowls for serving. Children, however, usually love this kind of pastime. Therefore, if you are a larger family with kids I suggest you give it a try. You will certainly enjoy a lot of fun.
You will need:
kimchi approx. 500 g (you can use homemade kimchi or you can choose one of canned or packed Korean kimchi.)
150 g of pork
1 tablespoon chilli paste (or shoyu soya sauce if you are not sure about your hotness tolerance level)
rice wine Mirin
100 g of solid tofu
1 smaller leek
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 tablespoon of olive oil
spring onion or parsley for garnish
water (about 4 cups)
Cut the pork into cubes and marinate it for half an hour in rice wine. Squeeze kimchi to get rid of the excess sauce and cut it into pieces. Cut tofu into cubes and thinly slice the leek. Heat the oil in the pot, add the meat, kimchi and briefly fry. Then add water and cook under a lid on a mild fire for about fifteen minutes. If we want the soup to be thicker, we can uncover it and reduce it for another eight minutes. Finally, add tofu, crushed garlic, and leek and once again boil briefly. Serve with rice in a separate bowl and garnished with spring onion or parsley.
From the TCM point of view:
For many people, cold and windy weather means hot pot season. However, this soup, in my opinion, due to the cooling nature of many used ingredients, is particularly suitable for summer or Indian summer. Representatives of a spicy taste like chilli are ultimately cooling because of their extreme hotness. In Asia, they are used in hot and wet weather. In the eastern half of the province Sichuan, there is very humid subtropical climate, however, local cuisine is the spiciest of all of China. On the other hand, long-term warming spices (ginger, cinnamon, clove etc.) should be avoided in the hot weather. Let’s have a look at the ingredients.
Pork has a balanced, cool, sweet and salty taste and enters the meridians of the liver and spleen as well as the kidneys. It nourishes yin and moistens dryness. Therefore is used in fire-related illnesses with fluid wounds. It relieves e.g.heatstroke or constipation.
Chinese cabbage has a cold nature and a sweet taste; it can be used for inflammation and purulent infections with symptoms of heat. Treats constipation associated with intestinal dryness.
Kimchi as a typical representative of Korean cuisine is loaded with chilli. Chilli is of a hot nature and a spicy taste. It enters the meridians of the heart and spleen, and improves digestion and appetite. Hotness and spiciness promote sweating and thus remove excessive heat from the body.
Soy tofu is cold in nature and has a sweet taste. It influences the spleen, stomach and large intestine. It alleviates thirst, generally harmonizes digestion, and has a beneficial effect in cases of poisoning from food or alcohol.
Rice wine, leek, parsley, garlic & onion:
All of these ingredients are rather warm in nature and more or less spicy in taste, they balance the cool (or cooling) nature of other components of the dish.
I recommend you my favourite Korean Kimchi:
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