Monthly Archives: June 2014

Dancing with Miso

My sister is down for the count.  I suspect a mix of wintery weather, lack of sleep, and too much time in airports made her sick.  It stinks when people are sick, as a common person (aka non-medical professional) there is very little I can do to help.  The best thing I can think to do is make her feel comfortable, aka feed her.  I was out with a friend last night she told me to make my sister miso soup, she believes that it’s a cure all for everything.  I’ll take that advice and put a spin on it!  Dwenjang Jigae, is a riff on your standard miso soup.  Ok, I lie, if miso soup is like Miley in her Disney days, this stew is like a long night dancing with Molly and Miley today…

My grandma taught me how to make it in middle school.  The way we make it is a little unconventional from the Korean standard.  The standard recipe usually doesn’t have the gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste), uses dwenjang (Korean fermented soy bean paste) and usually has a thinner consistency than mine. I prefer using Japanese red miso to its Korean counterpart.  I tried switching to Korean Dwenjang a few years back, but there is so much variation within the brands of dwenjang and I couldn’t find one that I liked.  My absolute favorite is the stuff my grandma makes but she’s back in the mother land and I don’t think I’d be able to get that through customs.

Here’s the recipe

Kim Family Dwenjang Jigae

6” dashima
5 large dried anchovies
2 small onions ½” diced
3 medium potatoes ½” diced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoon gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
¼ cup Japanese red miso
2 king oyster mushrooms (or about 1 cup shitake mushrooms sliced) shredded
1 zucchini ½” diced
1 pack (16 oz) tofu (soft) ½” diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 jalapeno sliced thin
3 green onions cut into 2” strips

First the Broth, this is pretty basic in Korean cooking you want to make an anchovy broth, they don’t add a huge amount of salt but they pack in a lot of flavor.  In a pinch, skip this step, but using it does add another flavor dimension. Basically, it’s anchovy and dashima (aka Kombu) infusion… (I’d say tea but my nerdy side wants to protest, teas only come from the camellia sinensis plant!).  Place your anchovies and dashima into about 64 oz of cold water and let it boil while you’re preparing the rest of your veggies.


I get to washing, peeling, cutting the veggies while the broth is steeping. This whole blog thing is new for me so the pictures aren’t the best but stick with me, I’m a quick study and this thing will be looking good in no time!


By now, the broth should be finished, set it aside and now we begin!  Saute the onions and potatoes in a heavy bottomed pot with the vegetable oil.  When they are sweaty and nervous add in the hot pepper paste and miso, it’ll look messy. Stay with your pot and keep stirring if you burn this part it will be bitter.  When the mixture looks homogenous, like everyone is playing nicely with each other, pour in the broth.


Bring the soup to a full rolling boil and add in the remaining ingredients, continue cooking for about 10 minutes.
Serve with rice.

This recipe makes a lot of jigae, but this stuff just gets better with time. Today it will be good, tomorrow it will be even better.

Shred the mushrooms – king oyster mushrooms are pretty common in the Korean Supermarket, I like adding them like this because it looks pretty and it is easier to bite into than when you just slice them.  Cut the “shitake” looking cap off of the mushroom.  You’ll have a long log of mushroom.  The mushroom shreds lengthwise so cut the log in half and just put pressure on it, it’ll give and you’ll see how it can be shredded.  Think pulled pork or Jang Jorim.
Meat? Where is the Meat? – My family doesn’t really eat that much meat, but it’s really easy to add in.  Add about 1/2 lb of 1″ diced cubes of beef stew meat (usually chuck or even heel meat) to the potato and onion mixture.  Don’t let the meat brown too much or it’ll be tough. sweaty and happy..

A New Begining

I have been postponing the first entry for this blog because I thought it would need to be profound or particularly thought provoking.
Something that would stand out… but it’s been 2 months and I got nothing that stands out. So I’ll just begin, softly and see how it all pans out.

The prime mover for this blog is food. By day,  I’m food scientist and by evening time I’d like to think I transform into a culinary maverick!  Unless you are Andy Ricker (owner of Pok Pok here in NYC), you tend to cook what you know.  Seeing as I’m Korean American, I’ll be cooking a lot of Korean with dabbles in other types of cuisines.  I’d say I’m passionate about food… passion makes me think of fire and what’s more fire-y than a Thai Curry (see the Pok Pok Thai food connection!)?

I love Thai food! What’s not to like about chilies, lime, ginger, sweet, aromatic, and savory combos.  This recipe isn’t super fancy but it is delicious!

2.5 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breast (cut into 1.5” chunks)
1 medium onion
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1.5 cup of baby portobello mushrooms
1 cup snow peas (trimmed)
1 can of coconut cream (16 oz)
1 cup red curry paste (it’s a lot, but be generous it’s worth it!)
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar (or the legit kind from the Thai market)
3 Keiffer lime leaves
3 Thai bird chillies
Thai basil, a big handful

Woah, I guess that’s a lot of ingredients, it didn’t seem like it when I was making it…
So here is what you do, I’m going to give my recipes in the order I do it in my kitchen, the nerdy scientist in me loves efficiency so I like making every minute in the kitchen count.

Put the chicken cubes in with the onion that you have cut into long strips, cover the chicken and onions with water. Boil the chicken and onions over medium heat while you’re cutting the rest of the veggies. Cut all the veggies nice and long and don’t cut them too thin, you want to make sure that they won’t disappear in the curry as it cooks down. I only halved the mushrooms because they were on the small side.

At this point, your chicken should be cooked through (unless you have superhuman knife skills, in which case, you should grab a beer and chill for a moment… ), add in your coconut cream to get every drop I rinsed out the can with water and poured that water into the pot. Now you have the chicken, onions, initial water, coconut cream, and another can full of water in the pot. Now add the curry paste, fish sauce, lime leaves, and sugar. Let all of that come to a boil on med/high heat. Now add in all the veggies and chilies. I love it when the veggies still have a little crunch so I just let them warm through and then serve over rice.

In the famous words of the original Duck Commander, Phil, “this makes me happy happy.. happy happy happy.. ” enjoy!