The first thing that people seem to think about when you mention Korean food is either Korean BBQ or Kimchi (in my personal opinion Kimchi wins out). Kimchi is marinated cabbage in hot spices resulting in a spicy pickled vegetable served as a side on the table to be eaten with rice. There are of course a variety, a variety of kimchi out there, ones that are red, ones that are served in clear brine, ones that are spicy, onces that aren't, ones that are made of cabbage, some that are made of radishes- the list goes on.
Kimchi can also be used to make kimchi fried-rice and... kimchi stew (one of my favorite ways to eat kimchi), kimchi stew in Korea is called kimchi-chigae (the Korean word, chigae: "stew"). Kimchi chigae is spicy and tangy with all the deliciousness that kimchi has to offer. I often use old kimchi for this recipe (a great way to get rid of that last kimchi that's stinking up your refrigerator- I ain't gonna lie about that, everyone knows kimchi smells). Using freshly made kimchi for this recipe isn't recommended. I bought fresh kimchi to be eaten as a side with rice (fresh kimchi is my preference when eaten as a side), 3 weeks later I still had this kimchi in my refrigerator and so I decided to make kimchi-chigae in order to get rid of that last bit of well marinated 3-week old kimchi sitting in my frig. Kimchi-chigae is my preferred way of eating well-marinated kimchi.
What you will need to make kimchi-chigae:
1. Well marinated kimchi (you can use as little or as much kimchi as you'd like, just remember to have the appropriate size pot to cook it in, a small amount of kimchi will need a little pot and a lot of kimchi is going to need a big pot- you know what I mean).
2. Enough water to come up just even with your kimchi (when in the pot).
3. A few bite-size pieces of pork (as much or as little as you'd like, none is okay too if you're a vegetarian).
Directions on how to make kimchi-chigae:
1. Heat-up the pot you will use to make your kimchi-chigae in over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pot, add the bite-size pieces of pork meat and cook to brown on all sides.
2. Once the pork meat is browned and just cooked through add the kimchi and all of its juices into the pot with the pork meat. Stir the kimchi around so that it is in an even layer (this will make it easier to see how much water you will need to add).
3. Add water to the kimchi and the meat in the pot, add just enough water so that the water line is even with the top of the kimchi (the more water you add the less spicy and tangy the chigae will be, for best results I suggest adding just enough water to make it come even to the top of the kimchi in the pot). Once the water is added, stir all the ingredients together in the pot.
4. Let the pot come to a boil then turn the heat down so that the pot is at a simmer, allow the mixture to simmer for 45 minutes to a hour, partially covered. During this time the kimchi will wilt more so and the liquid will evaporate just a tad bit resulting in a more flavorful kimchi broth for your kimchi-chigae.
Serve your kimchi-chigae hot or warm with rice and a couple of other side dishes if you'd like, although I always found it pleasant to have a simple dinner of a bowl of rice with just a bowl kimchi-chigae. Enjoy the tangy, spicy kimchi-chigae! And if you're anything like me about using this method to get rid of old kimchi you can also feel good about making the best of what you've got to create a whole new delicious dish.