Y'all know I love kimchi. And soups and stews. So, of course, I love kimchi stew, aka kimchi jjigae. I also love how jjigae is spelled with two j's.
Traditionally, kimchi jjigae is a stew with old (very very ripe/fermented) kimchi and a bean paste or chili paste. I don't have either of those pastes on hand (I need to remember to pick up some the next time I hit up See Woo), but I find my versions to be quite satisfactory. And by quite satisfactory, I mean delicious!!
Fry onions and carrots in oil until the onions start to turn clear. Add garlic, ginger, and chili (I used a jalapeno in this case, but any chili or chili flakes are fine) and fry for about a minute. Add mushrooms (I used oyster in my most recent version, but a wide variety of mushrooms will do), tofu, and whatever other veg you fancy adding and give it a good stir. Add water.
Bring to a jolly boil and simmer for a few minutes.
Turn the heat off, stir in some soy sauce, miso,* and kimchi (don't add them when it's boiling because it will destroy the lovely bacteria and enzymes and stuff (you know, stuff)), a splash of kimchi juice (from the jar) if you're feeling daring (I am!), and add a splash of toasted sesame oil if you're feeling really feisty!
Pour into bowls and top with chopped green onions and fresh cilantro. (I forgot to add these, doh!! It was still delicious! I had 3 bowls.)
Here's a different version I sometimes make:
Fry onion, garlic, ginger, and chili pepper in oil until onions are clear. Add water, shredded carrot, and tomato paste. Boil, then simmer for a bit. Add soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine, and kimchi. Simmer a bit more. The soup will be a bright fiery red.
Eat it, pausing every so often to blow your nose.
* This is the miso I use: