Kimchi Chigae for a Wintry Hilo Evening

Some of you laugh when those of us who live in Hawaii talk about how cold our winter is. For those of us who do not have temperature-controlled houses, waking up to temperatures lower than 70 degrees puts us in a socks-on-the-feet and eat stews and soups mood.

I was recently in one of those moods and decided to make my version of kimchi chigae, a kimchi stew/soup that my family loves. I started off by chopping some onions and carrots and sauteed them in a large pot.I found some thinly sliced pork belly at KTA and chopped into bite-sized pieces and added that to the pot. Next to the pot, I added some kimchi that I had in my refrigerator. The more sour the kimchi the tastier your chigae will be. Don’t be afraid to use one that has been sitting in your fridge for a while–and definitely don’t throw it away!  Next, I added some water to the pot and used the Dashida Korean seasoning as well as the kochugaru (dried red pepper flakes) to season the broth. After the broth comes to a boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer.  At this point, I added slices of fresh shiitake.I also added enoki mushrooms.And since I had some fresh and locally grown pak choy from my CSA delivery, I added that in.After the stew/soup simmered for a while, I added in cubes of Oshiro tofu to the pot.And the final product was delicious and was a hit with my family.  It was the perfect dish for a wintery Hilo evening.  Living Hilo Style.

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