Thursday, July 11, 2013

Hell, Sweet Meat! or How I Learned to Love Spicy Hell Broth.

I've always loved spicy food. Not the hurts so bad I need a doctor from my burning, swollen tongue of hellfire hot but spicy enough to make me sweat and cause my acid reflux to punch me in the face. It wasn't until I moved to Seattle years back that i tried my first taste of Korean food. I wanted to try everything. So many new adventures to be had in my mouth (hmmm that sentence sounds oddly disturbing, oh well). Sitting before me in all it's fiery, red hell broth of spicy glory was a gigantic bowl of Soon doo boo Jjigae (Korean soft tofu and kimchi soup). I was enamored with it's salty, spicy, sourness. It was love at first bite (not to be confused with the terrible 1979 vampire spoof). Soft tofu chunks melted in my mouth and the pungent kimchi made my lips pucker. Also there was a lovely glistening raw egg yolk just begging to be stabbed, it's innards spilling bright yellow moistness all over my soup. I hope my descriptions make you feel all warm and fuzzy instead of dirty and in need of a shower.

Now, I'm pretty well versed in a few Asian cuisines but I had never tested my trusty knives on Korean food. I have never made kimchi from scratch before (I buy the Uwajimaya house brand which is pretty tasty). Perhaps that is a culinary short-coming that I must rectify (I don't know why but I always laugh when I say the word rectify. I have the brain of a five year old). Anyways, since that day I vowed to learn more about the nation's cuisine and since then I've made some damn tasty Korean dishes. Perhaps one day soon I'll even get around to making homemade kimchi. One day...

By the way, I tried to use an online English to Korean translator for the words 'spicy hell broth' and it came up as 매콤한 지옥 육수. However when I reversed the translation it came out as 'Hell, sweet meat". I like it. So anywho, I made a vegan version of Kimchi Soon doo boo Jjigae for Miss Lucy the other day. It was a solid A++ hit. I prefer mine with a raw egg yolk because I am an animal eater and I'm okay with that. Would you like the recipe? Well I've got a surprise for you, here it is!

Kimchi Soon doo boo Jjigae

1 pack soondooboo (soft tofu)
1 cup kimchi, roughly chopped
2 small green (Thai) chilies, left whole
1 white onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper powder)
1 tbsp peanut oil
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
1 tsp soy sauce
½ tsp sesame oil
3 cups vegetable broth
1 red Korean chili, thinly sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
kosher salt to taste

In a mortar and pestle (or food processor) mash the small Thai chili with the garlic, soy sauce, and sesame oil until it becomes a paste.

In a pot over medium high heat saute the white onion and ginger in peanut oil for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Stir in the gochugaru and cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic chili paste.
Then add the vegetable stock and kimchi, bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the soondooboo (soft tofu) carefully with a spoon.
Garnish with sliced Korean red chilies, green onions and a drizzle of sesame oil. Serve with rice or as is. 

Sit in front of a cool fan with an ice pack in your pants. Be sure to listen to 4Minute as you scarf down some Soon doo boo Jjigae and pound a couple of Hite beers. Enjoy. xoxo


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