Winter in Hokkaido – Kimchi Jigae

March 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

Does your bathroom ever smell liked cooked pee? Uh, neither does mine. But well I got a small heater for my bathroom so the toilet would stop freezing and let’s just say – there are side effects. Within the first two days of being back, I had two broken sinks, a burst pipe that flooded the floor, an ice-covered toilet seat, and a frozen, unflushable toilet.

But don’t worry, this isn’t a recipe for cooked pee (how easy would that recipe be?). It is, however, a recipe for those days when your toilet seat is covered in icicles and you can see your breath while you’re peeing. These days still happen here, even in March.

Kimchi & Pork Belly Stew

This is a recipe that you can easily adjust to whatever ingredients you have, and which I’ve made a number of ways. Here are the basics, but please feel free to substitute whatever you like. It’s loosely based on several recipes for kimchi jigae.


1 onion, sliced
2 large carrots, sliced in thick wedges or rounds
1 daikon, sliced and quartered
meat! (I’ve used thinly sliced pork belly, thick cut pork belly, lamb with the skin on, and various combinations of the three – you can use whatever you fancy, but the thick pork belly and lamb get very tender with this kind of preparation and add a lot of flavor to the finished product)
package of thick shirataki (you can use thin, but I like the texture of the udon-thick variety)
package kimchi (1-2 cups)
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 c sake
1 c water (add more if needed, depending on how much vegetables/meat you use, everything should be covered – adjust miso, etc. accordingly)
1/4 c light soy sauce (don’t use regular soy sauce, it will be too salty)
1 tbs mirin
2-3 tbs miso (adjust to taste)
2-3 tsp gochujang (adjust to taste)
2 tsp minced ginger
tofu (optional)
green onions/naganegi, sliced thinly (optional)


Fry the pork belly and/or lamb (skin side down) to render the fat. Remove from the pan and stir fry the onions. Add the carrots, daikon, and any other vegetable you’d like to use (I’ve tried sweet potatoes and potatoes before). Add the meat back into the pan along with the kimchi, shirataki, and garlic. When fragrant add the sake, water, soy sauce, mirin, miso, gochujang, and ginger. Stir to combine and adjust to taste. Bring to a boil and then cover and turn down to a simmer. Simmer for 1-2 hours or until the vegetables and meat are tender. You can also add cubes of tofu at the end and let simmer until heated through. Garnish with sliced green onions or naganegi. This is good served on rice, but with the shirataki I prefer to eat it without.


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