Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
1 teaspoon grapeseed or canola oil
1 pound|450 grams skinless pork belly, sliced ¼-inch thick, cut into 1-inch squares
kosher salt, to taste
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ pounds|680 grams aged kimchi (fermented for at least 3 weeks), store-bought or homemade, cut into 1-to-2-inch-wide strips
1 tablespoon gochugaru
4 cups|1 liter dashi
1 pound|450 grams silken or soft tofu, preferably homemade, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch batons
fish sauce (optional)
gim (dried Korean seaweed) or nori, sliced into strips, for serving
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over high. When the oil begins to shimmer and just barely smoke, add the pork belly and season with salt. Sear for 2 to 3 minutes on one side until browned, then stir, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 5 minutes so some of the fat can render out. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes, making sure the garlic does not burn.
2. Raise the heat to medium, add three-quarters of the kimchi and the gochugaru, and cook for 7 minutes, or until lightly caramelized. Add the dashi and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat slightly and simmer gently for 40 minutes.
3. Add the tofu, scallions, and the remaining kimchi and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste to check the seasoning. If you used a flavorful aged kimchi, you shouldn't need any additional salt. If stew is lacking in flavor or seasoning, you might want to add a few drops of fish sauce. Remember that this dish is eaten with rice, so the seasoning should be assertive enough to balance plain white rice. Serve immediately, with rice and, if desired, gim or nori on the side.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This recipe has been reprinted with permission of the author from the book, My Korea: Traditional Flavors, Modern Recipes.
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