Today’s recipe is from my first cookbook, and something that I make for my family all the time. It’s bubbling, hot kimchi stew with tuna (called chamchi-kimchi-jjigae in Korean, 참치김치찌개), so easy to make, satisfying, and delicious. It’s made with just a few ingredients, the most important ones are well-fermented, sour kimchi (the older, the better), and a can or 2 cans of tuna. We never make this with fresh tuna, we make it with canned tuna. You can use any tuna but I prefer Korean tuna in oil because the meat is firmer and it’s well-packed. If you don’t have or don’t like tuna, you can use my regular kimchi-jjigae recipe.
This stew is hot, satisfying, a little bit spicy, and a little bit sour. For me the ratio of sweetness, sourness, and spiciness is perfect! It’s a popular, regular meal for many Koreans, and because the ingredients are so few and canned tuna is so portable, we often make it on camping trips. Just bring some sour kimchi and make it and serve with rice. When I went camping in my university days, this was a regular thing for us to make. Everyone loves it!
- 1 or 2 cans of tuna
- 1 pound fermented kimchi, cut into 2 inch long pieces
- ¼ cup kimchi brine, optional
- 1 medium onion (about 1 cup), sliced
- 2 green onion, one cut diagonally into pieces and one chopped up into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons Korean hot pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons Turbinado sugar (or white or brown sugar)
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 8 ounces tofu (about 1 cup), sliced into bite size pieces
- Place the kimchi in a shallow, heavy pot or pan. Add kimchi brine, onion, green onion, kosher salt, hot pepper flakes, sugar, and toasted sesame oil. Add 2½ cups water and cover. Cook for 25 minutes over medium high heat. If it boils over, crack the lid a little and if the water boils out, add more so that the kimchi and all the ingredients are always submerged.
- Stir the stew with a wooden spoon and add tuna and tofu. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes until the tofu turns soft.
- Sprinkle with the chopped green onion and serve right away with rice and more side dishes if you desire.