We often say that the simple rustic food of a country is the very best, and this is another piece of evidence to support that argument. The ingredients and preparation for this stew are very simple, but the resulting soup is complex and delicious, spicy and rich.
I think people in western cultures often view tofu as something that you would only eat if you’re trying to avoid meat (that is, it’s a compromise if you need protein but don’t want meat – not something you would just eat because you enjoy it), but having it in a setting like this might completely change your mind, as the texture is perfect, and it soaks up all the flavor from the broth and becomes an integral part of the soup along with the ground pork.
As always, adjust amounts of things according to your taste and how you want the soup to be. The amounts we’re posting here are mostly approximate anyway, as we never measure anything.
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 2 cups kimchi
- 4-6 cups dashi or anchovy (like dashi but made with dried anchovies instead of katsuobushi) broth
- 6-10 shiitake mushrooms, de-stemmed and halved (optional)
- 1-2 tubes/blocks of the softest tofu you can find.
- 1-2 eggs (optional)
- 2-4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1-2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated or finely minced
- 고추가루 (Dried red chili flakes)
- 고추장 (Spicy red chili paste)
- 된장 (Fermented bean paste) or miso paste.
- Rice vinegar
- Salt and Pepper
- Sesame oil
- Brown sugar
- In a medium to large pot, cook the ground pork in a little bit of sesame oil until nearly done, breaking it into crumbles as it cooks. Add some salt, pepper, and red chili flakes as it is cooking.
- Add in the garlic and ginger, and cook for about a minute until everything starts smelling really good.
- Add the kimchi, and cook just long enough to warm it up.
- Add the broth, some rice vinegar, brown sugar, and mushrooms and bring up to a simmer.
- Add some chili paste, chili flakes, bean paste, salt and black pepper to taste.
- Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat slightly to a high simmer and let cook, covered, for about 15-20 minutes
- Finally, add the tofu in on top of the pot and break it apart into large pieces. If your tofu is really soft it should just naturally break apart in the broth. Let the tofu simmer in the broth for another 10 minutes or so.
- Optionally, bring the soup back up to a rolling boil and crack an egg or two right into the stew.
- Dish up in bowls, and garnish with a little drizzle of sesame oil and a light sprinkle of chili flakes.