There’s no lack of Korean TV shows, and one of my favourites is still Three Meals a Day, especially the Gochang season. It’s a fun show – the farming, the cute animals, four men bumbling about but in a positive way.
Then there’s the way Chajumma cooks, which is – for want of a less gendered term – just quite manly. There’s a big pot over a fire. You throw stuff (good quality stuff, of course) in it. Then you check if it’s cooked, and serve it up. It’s not careless cooking by any means; it’s attentiveness without neuroticism, mindful yet still relaxed. And it always looks so good.
Sadly I don’t live in a place where cabbages and Cheongyang chilies grow in the front yard, so a supermarket will have to do. That, and a Korean restaurant nearby which is willing to sell a tub of reasonably mature kimchi at a reasonable price.
Serves: 2 to 4
Chicken, 1 breast, cubed
Kimchi, 1 large bowl
Tofu, 1 pack, cut into large cubes
Ginger, 3 cm section, cut
Shallots, 2, quartered
Garlic, 2 cloves, minced
Chicken stock, 1 cup (or to taste)
Water, to taste
Oyster sauce, 1 tsp
Sugar, 1 tbsp
Sesame oil, 1 tsp
Sat and pepper, to taste
Mix the chicken with the seasonings and marinate for 15 to 20 minutes. Sear in the pot with a little oil briefly before removing.
With a little more oil, sauté the shallots, garlic and ginger to express their aroma. Then add the kimchi. When kimchi is heated through, add the chicken.
Add water and chicken stock to cover the ingredients. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes. Finally, add the tofu, simmer another 3 minutes or so, then cover and turn off the heat. Let it sit for 5 minutes to finish cooking, and serve hot with rice or noodles. Tteokbokki probably works too.