Winter-warmer in Spring
Spring is finally here! Actually we had two gorgeous days of sunshine but now the clouds are back – and London’s looking more like London – gray and cold AGAIN… which gives me another good reason to make one of my favourite winter warmers – Meatball and Kimchi Hot Pot. This is one of my one-pot favourites – short prep time, quick cooking, minimal cleaning.
Kimchi is a traditional Korean pickled vegetable side-dish. The most common of which is made with Chinese/ Napa cabbage. Kimchi is a top choice food for me. Tangy – goooood, spicy – goooood. What’s not to like then? It’s also healthy and a great source of fibre and vitamins. Some claim that kimchi, with its natural preservatives of garlic and vinegar, helps to lower cholesterol and has intestinal cleaning qualities. What a bonus!
This hot pot is similar to Kimchi Jjigae – a popular Korean stew-like dish that is easily available in all Korean restaurants. Ingredients in a Kimchi Jjigae varies. The popular options are combinations of kimchi and pork or kimchi and seafood.
My home-made version is made with fresh pork meatballs, dried chinese mushrooms, medium silken tofu and a 500g store-bought pack of kimchi. The tangy and spicy kimchi when cooked with some stock and other ingredients produces a delicious piquant gravy, which coats every morsel of meat, mushroom and tofu. The only seasoning in this dish goes into the minced pork and all the other wonderful flavours come directly from the humble little packet of kimchi.
This dish is so simple to prepare:
- Marinate minced pork with light & dark soy, pepper, powdered stock and sesame oil.
- Heat vegetable oil in a dutch oven or similar heavy pot
- Form meatballs, and brown in batches, set aside
- Add soaked and sliced Chinese mushrooms and some of the soaking liquid, cook for a few minutes
- Add packet of kimchi, and enough stock to cover, simmer for five minutes
- Return meatballs to pot, stir through and let it cook for another ten minutes or until pork is cooked through
- Add cubed tofu, simmer for a couple of minutes
- When done, crack a fresh egg over before serving
The raw egg is stirred through the bubbling stew, cooking it in the process and emulsifying the sauce at the same time. Served with steamed rice, it is definitely a warming, comforting meal that chases the chill of winter away.