Tuna Kimchi Jjigae

tunajjigae-1 Written by Rae Lately I’ve been eating out.  By that I mean I’ve been too lazy to cook everyday, so this week we’ve gone to the 김밥마을 (Kimbap Village) a few times.  This is really unusual because normally we cook everyday – but what can I say, I’m only human and I get tired of cooking sometimes.  A few of the times we’ve gotten 참치찌개 (pronounced chahm-chi gee-gae).  If you know anything about making this soup, this should tell you how lazy I’ve been because it’s so incredibly easy to make.  You don’t even have to measure anything.  You just throw all the ingredients in a pot and let her go. I’m not sure about the history of this soup, or where any Korean got the idea to add canned tuna to kimchi stew, but I’m guessing it was similar to how they got the idea to add spam to their stew, too (Budae Jjigae) – and had something to do with the influx of american culture during the Korean War.  That’s just a guess, though.  Anyway, this soup is bomb!  It’s so good!  It’s kind of like when you add canned tuna to a peppery tomato sauce for spaghetti (like my mom does in her Spicy Tuna Pasta).  It’s hearty, spicy, savory and perfect for fall. This recipe serves about two people. Here’s what I added to make this soup: 1/2 onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 T of Korean red pepper paste, gochujang (or to taste) 1 cup of kimchi (or more), cut into pieces with a kitchen shear 1 small can of tuna, or half of a big can 1/2 zucchini (애호박) optional add-ins, tofu, rice cakes, red pepper flakes or other vegetables like hot pepper Start by sauteing your garlic until translucent, then add the kimchi and fry with the onions until it becomes a little wilted.  Add your red pepper paste and continue to fry for a minute.  You can also add the garlic at this time, too – or add it later like I did (because I forgot about it).  After frying with the red pepper paste, add water until just above your kimchi and boil.  Chop you zucchini in half in thick slices and add to pot.  You need to cut the zucchini thick so it doesn’t fall apart in the soup. Continue to boil until it tastes good.  This could take 10 or 20 minutes, but just keep tasting.  Before you’re ready to eat, add cubed tofu and the can of tuna and stir.  By adding these ingredients at the end, they don’t break up while they’re cooking.  Cook for a few more minutes and enjoy!  So dang simple.

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