Kimchi soup with chicken
I only learnt how to make Kimchi jiggae when No. 1 came back from UK and taught me how easy it was. So what’s the difference between kimchi soup and kimchi jiggae? The amount of water! The broth for the stew is just a little thicker and has stronger flavour.
We weren’t so big on Korean food then, and now, especially since I make my own kimchi, this has become a staple in my house as it’s so easy to whip up. After the usual Bak Kut Teh, Chinese ABC soup, Old Cucumber Soup, and herbal soups, this is a welcome change in terms of taste. Usually I make a large pot that sometimes carries over to the next meal, and by then, it tastes even better!
Essentially, it’s a similar recipe as you would find online, except that I use chicken, and there’s more ingredients as it’s usually a one pot meal for our family on days when I’m too lazy to cook more dishes.
Half a chicken, cut into small pieces (or you can use chicken breast meat if you prefer boneless meat)
1 cup aged kimchi, cut into bite sizes (aged kimchi means kimchi that’s been kept at least 2 weeks or more, and it’s usually really sour. But there’s no rule to say you can’t use fresh kimchi except that it might be less flavourful)
1/2 cup kimchi juice
1 big onion, sliced
2 stalks spring onion, cut small
Handful of mushroom (shiitake, enoki, straw mushrooms, they all work fine in my book)
1 carrot, cut into wheels.
1 block of firm taufu, cut into smaller cubes (sometimes I use the softer version, which is nice as well)
2.5 cups of water
1 tablespoon Korean chilli flakes (gochugaru)
1.5 tablespoon Korean chilli beanpaste (gochujang)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
A splash of rice wine (optimally it should be mirin, which I don’t have, so I use Shiou Xin wine instead) – optional
1/2 teaspoon garlic, chopped small
Dash of sesame oil
pepper, salt and sugar, to taste
In a large pot, fry the kimchi lightly, then add the chicken and fry a bit more.
Add the kimchi juice, carrot, onion, garlic and mushroom. Stir fry everything together lightly, then add the 2 cups of water.
Bring the soup to a boil, then add the soup base ingredients one by one. Ensure they are well mixed. Other recipes call for all this to be mixed together in a bowl first before putting this into the soup, and this way ensures everything is well mixed. But I don’t do this because … I’m really practical and I don’t want to wash another bowl!
Cook for about 15 minutes on low to medium fire. When the carrots have softened, add salt, sugar and pepper. Stir the big pot of stew around a bit so that the flavours are nicely blended in. Lastly, add the taufu on top, cook for another 5 minutes or so, and make sure you splash the soup over the top ingredients every now and then.
Serve in a big bowl for all to share Asian style to go with rice, or in individual small bowls, if you’re particular about sharing food. Sprinkle the spring onions just before serving.
Tweaks the ingredients a little if you prefer less spicy, sweeter, saltier, etc until you reach your own perfect blend.