I’ve really been devouring a lot of sweets recently – especially with the amount of baking that has been going on over labor day weekend (woohoo!) and the fact that our local ice cream shop that is just about a 2 minute walk away closes for the season after after Labor Day – meaning we were hitting up the shop a few times.
So as a result of my recent sugar high, I woke up in the morning with a need of something spicy! This tends to happen to me when I eat too much sweets or too much American creamy food. Mornings like this is also when I really miss my mom and miraculously having whatever I want on the table with her speedy mom skills.
While looking for some inspirations online, I noticed one of Baek Jong Won’s recipes. Although he’s super popular in Korea, I’m not normally a huge fan of his because he often seems to over-simplify and over-season a lot of his food. Sugar and salt galore – good for the taste buds but really not good for everyday home cooking! But in my search, I found Spicy Red Pepper Paste Potato Stew. I’ve never actually heard of or had this before but looking at the ingredient list and my fridge – it looks perfect!
To my surprise, the stew turned out pretty delicious. As expected though, the stew was a bit too salty for me (too much fish sauce) and I would make additionals tweaks to this as needed the next time. But, Justin really annoyed it – extra salty and spicy. Unusual for a Korean stew, it doesn’t contain any tofu but with the amount of meat and vegetables in the stew, it is not missed at all. The potatoes are also particularly delicious as it soaks in the spicy flavor into the softly cooked potato pieces. The original recipe calls for mushrooms which I think will be excellent but I used what I had on hand and the addition of bean sprouts added a very refreshing touch to the soup base. Cooking is an art – use what you have and create another mastery!
This will be making another entrance to our dinner table in the future – especially when we’re low on tofu at home and I’m feeling a need to make life (and dinner) as simple as possible!
Baek Jong Won's Spicy Red Pepper Potato Stew - 백종원 감자고추장찌개개
Korean Celebrity Chef Baek Jong Won's Red Pepper Potato Stew (gochujang jjigae) is perfect when a hot bowl of spicy stew is needed and you have no tofu on hand. Sweet, salty and spicy - the perfect combination for Korea's intense flavors.
Gut the anchovies by splitting them in half and taking out the strip inside. If this is not done the soup will be bitter.
Place gutted anchovies and dashima in a small pot with 2-3 cups of water. Some of the water will evaporate over time and this soup base will be used later.
Bring to a boil and then simmer on medium heat for about 20 minutes.
Chop the potatoes into large bite size pieces.
Optional Step: Soak the potatoes in cold water for about 10 minutes to bring out some of the starch if you don't want a stew base that is too thick. If you like really thick stews, you can skip this step.
Dice the onions, scallions and peppers.
Optional Step: In a separate bowl, add in the pork with a tablespoon of Mirim (cooking wine) and a tablespoon of red pepper flakes. This is not a mandatory step but it softens the meaty flavor.
In a pot, add in the sesame oil, olive oil, red pepper paste at low heat and saute for a few short minutes. Add in 1 Tbsp of red pepper flakes and continue to saute. This process will deepen the red pepper flavor.
Note - be careful of the flakes burning as they can turn bitter when burnt.
Add in the pork and saute at low-medium heat until the pork is mostly cooked through.
(This will deeper the flavor than cooking the meat in the water/broth).
Once the pork is ready, add in 1 and 1/2 - 2 cups of anchovy soup base from above and the potatoes. Cook over high heat. (start with 1 1/2 cups of water and add more if the stew flavor is too strong or if you want a thinner soup)
Add the soy sauce, fish sauce, 1/2 Tbsp red pepper flakes and garlic. Bring to a boil and then simmer at low-medium heat.
Once the potatoes seem mostly cooked through, add in any other additional vegetables - onions, bean sprouts or mushrooms.
Last step - before serving add in the scallions, peppers and lightly dust some black pepper. Simmer for another minute and it's ready to serve. Enjoy!