Jjigae is soup or stew in Korean. It is a very popular dish and you can find almost anything in any number of stews in Korea. I set out to make my first Korean stew because the store owner across the street gave Kyle and I a vat of smelly kimchi. I am assuming this was a present because we have bought a good number of items from her, but from the smell of the kimchi I would never give it as a gift! Ha! The store is a used furniture and restaurant supply store and we have bought a table, some silverware, and chairs (I just couldn’t get into the idea of sitting on the floor all the time!). The owner gave us the kimchi and it sat in the fridge for a week and a half making everything in the fridge smell like kimchi. Eeew – It wasn’t the most pleasant smell! No wonder Koreans have special refrigerators for kimchi!
I didn’t want to throw the kimchi away as I thought that was rude so I found a pretty simple recipe and set out to make my first Korean meal. It is basically stewed kimchi with pork belly and it really wasn’t that bad. A neighbor who came over to eat even asked for seconds! The kimchi flavor mellowed out by cooking it and even though I’m not a huge pork (or pork belly) eater the food was pretty tasty. I think the best part was having the kimchi out of the refrigerator for good (and house for that matter)!