We discovered this dish recently when we dined in at a Korean restaurant here in Auckland called Obar and ordered it. While we had made some beef jjigae before it was nothing like our recipe for today which was heavily inspired from that restaurant. This time is made with pork belly that was grilled before adding it to the stew which gave a lot of wonderful smoky flavour that gave another dimension to this dish, it was amazing.
Jjigae for those who don’t know it yet is a Korean dish similar to a Western stew but instead tomatoes or protein to give flavour to its stock, this Korean stew uses heavy seasonings like gochujang, doenjang, ganjang or saeujeot. Our Jjigae today will be using a combination of gochujang and Kimchi as its main flavour and this is one of the most common stews in the Korean cuisine.
It may look intimidating at first due to its vibrant red colour but trust me it does not taste how it looks, while it is still spicy, this dish is still quite manageable because it’s not just the chillies that give it flavour but the rest of the ingredients contribute too. Meaty smoky flavour from the grilled pork, earthy flavours from the mushrooms, slight sweetness from the sugar and some toasted hints from the sesame oil, add to that the fresh taste of onions and spring onions, this dish is a flavour bomb. If you find it spicy, you can also reduce the amount of gochugaru and gochujang which will slightly affect the final taste but still as delicious as the ones with more of it.
Season pork belly with salt, then charcoal grill pork belly for 5 minutes on each side. Remove from grill then set it aside.
In a shallow pot arrange kimchi, kimchi brine, grilled pork, white button mushrooms and dried shiitake mushrooms. In a bowl combine dashi, gochujang, gochugaru, sugar and salt. Pour over the seasoned dashi into the pot then bring to a boil and simmer in medium high heat for 15 minutes.
Add tofu and onions, lower heat to medium then simmer for 15 more minutes.
Turn heat off then top with spring onions then serve.