As I was typing that title, I couldn’t help but think, “wow, those are three words I never thought I would be putting together, much less have it be to describe a dish that has become one of my favorites.” I have never had much of a spice tolerance, I never thought I liked kimchi (mainly because most traditional versions contain fish), and as you heard from my last post, I was never a soup or stew fan. Well, turns out when you put them all together… some strange nirvana is reached. I suppose the philosophical lesson here is that if you have some fears, just face them all at once! So it looks like sky diving into a vat of spiders while being robbed will be my next post…
Anyways, I digress.
I tend to get cravings a lot, but I had no idea what my cravings were capable of until I had kimchi stew. There is a vegetarian friendly korean restaurant in Berkeley that has become my favorite restaurant, and it was there that I was introduced to kimchi stew. It is filled with spice and crunch and umami and it is served bubbling hot. I tried a traditional kimchi stew recipe a few weeks ago, and while it was good, it just didn’t do the trick. And then I stumbled across this recipe. I swear there were angels singing as the kimchi bubbled away in that thick spicy stewy goodness.
Now, I do have one confession about this recipe. It calls for Korean rice cakes (tteok)… but after 3 laps of Berkeley Bowl, there were just no tteok in site. But, I did find some frozen Japanese rice cakes (mochi). I am very familiar with mochi, so I knew it wouldn’t be exactly the same… but the idea behind them is similar: They are both pounded glutinous rice. Anyways, I went with it… and the mochi ended up just sort of dissolving in the stew. Oops? It’s ok though, because I think it helped the consistency of this and made it really stewy.