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Food for Thought: Christine Marcus' Kimchi Jigae

Food for Thought: Christine Marcus' Kimchi Jigae

Shane Houston

Shane Houston

Each month, we highlight recipes from R365 employees who share them and the memories they signify. This month is no different as we spotlight this kimchi stew recipe, courtesy of Christine Marcus, Senior Program Manager, and learn how it set the stage for a lifetime love affair with her culture.

Introduction

A key part of Restaurant365’s culture and a common thread between all the members of our community is an affinity for food.

Each month, an employee’s recipe is shared throughout the organization. These recipes are more than just a list of ingredients and instructions, they give us a sneak peek into the lives of our coworkers. We have the opportunity to see special recipes that hold memories, stand the test of time, and claim a significant place in someone’s heart. 

What better way to bond and share pieces of our personal lives than with our core value of Love Good Food?

Now, enjoy this comforting recipe shared by our very own Christine Marcus, Senior Program Manager.

A Note from Christine

Kimchi Jigae is a very popular Korean dish and one of my ultimate comfort foods. It hits all the flavor profiles in one delicious spoonful – a little spicy, sour, sweet, and salty! I am proud to share this dish with you as being the child of Korean immigrants is a core part of my identity.

My early memories of this dish included helping my parents prep the ingredients. My father worked as a line cook during my early years and one of the things he taught me early on – and I apply to multiple facets of my life – was to always have your ingredients prepped and ready to go. He made sure I not only had fresh garlic and onions chopped each day because we would need them no matter what we were making but taught me how to sharpen our knives and said, “always start with sharp knives, don’t make life even harder than it needs to be.” I am convinced that was my early start into having an “always be prepared” mentality!

I wasn’t always proud to be Korean. As a kid, it was hard to look different. I would always ask – why can’t we eat more pizza, meatloaf, casseroles – things I associated with being “normal.” I didn’t want to be the kid who had to explain to friends what a kimchi fridge was (yes, we had a separate fridge sorted out by different types and ages of kimchi!). Growing up it was impossible to hide what I was, and I struggled to fit in to what I thought was considered American. Now it’s something I take pride in – my heritage seems more personal than it was before. Every time I make this stew – I feel proud that I’m cooking a dish that is loved by Koreans. While I’ve made it countless times, every time feels special. Like I am honoring an essential part of who I am with every comforting spoonful.

Ingredients

All measurements are approximate – use less or more depending on what you have on hand. This dish is versatile – tried to give some common substitutes below depending on if you wanted to use different meat, make vegan or vegetarian, or didn’t have access to some of the ingredients. You can get any of the Korean-specific ingredients listed below right on Amazon nowadays, even if you don’t live near an Asian market!

(serves 4 – or in reality, 2 hungry people)

Instructions

  • In a pot (this is great in a stone pot or cast iron if available), start stir-frying pork, onion, and whites of the green onion over medium heat
  • Once the onions start softening up a bit, add in your cut kimchi and garlic and stir-fry some more
  • Once kimchi starts softening, add in kimchi juice, red pepper flakes, red pepper paste, sugar and sesame oil. Stir to incorporate everything
  • Add in whatever stock you are using and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn down the heat low and let it hang out on the stove (at least 20 minutes)
  • Uncover and adjust to taste. You may want to add a bit more salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, or sesame oil here. All depends on your preference!
  • Add the sliced tofu to the pot making sure the tofu is covered with liquid, then cover back up
  • Let it all the flavors marry together on low heat (at least 15 minutes)
  • Uncover – top with fresh green onions and serve with rice.

Christine's Quick Tip:

This is best served the next day, really making sure all the flavors mesh together. I usually have to have some right away because I can’t resist, so I always double the batch to ensure I can enjoy even deeper flavor in the stew on days two and three. Enjoy!

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