Recipe: Crock Pot Kimchi Jjigae with Norfolk dumplings
Hubby and I work eight-plus hours a day, and there are times I don’t have much time to be creative in the kitchen. It doesn’t help that Himalayan, Mexican or Thai carryout is only a phone call and 10–20 minutes away. However, one cannot live on a budget and on carryout.
I was also eager to try out an idea I had percolating in my head for a while. It combines two of my favorite comfort foods — 김치찌개 kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew) and chicken and dumpling soup — into a delicious Anglo-Korean one-pot meal.
Dumpling soups are ubiquitous throughout Europe, particularly in Northern Europe, where the winters are long, damp and bitter cold.
Alan Davidson says in the Oxford Companion to Food that dumplings “are more popular in colder climates … there are three regions in which they have flourished most: England … the much larger area of C. Europe (including Bavaria, Austria, Bohemia) … and the specialized habitat provided by Italy for gnocchi.” Korea’s winters are just as harsh as anyplace in Northern or Central Europe, so these dumplings are not out of place in this recipe.
It also compensates for the fact that I frequently forget to start up my rice cooker until it’s way too late to have a bowl of rice cooked up in time to serve with my kimchi jjigae. The dumplings only take about 30-45 minutes or so to steam or boil, and they absorb some of the kimchi goodness from the soup.
Even though it’s now spring time in the Northern Hemishphere, this is still a good recipe to use to give your slow cooker a good workout when you’re hard at work.
The kimchi I’m using for this recipe is at least two months old, so it’s sour. That is the kind of kimchi you want in a jjigae. If you have kimchi sitting in your fridge that is over a year old, that’s even better.
Cooking it low and slow will mellow it out. The dumpling recipe here is not based on Korean 만두 mandu (potstickers) but on Southern U.S. dumplings, which are based on recipes originating in the United Kingdom, particularly, from Norfolk, England.
Beef prices in the U.S. have risen dramatically in the past year, mainly caused by several years of severe drought in the western half of the country, where most of the cattle are raised. So if you decide to swap out the beef with lamb or goat, it will still taste good.
Kimchi jjigae with dumplings
Inspired by My Korean Kitchen
4 cups 배추김치 baechu kimchi (traditional spicy cabbage kimchi), bite-sized
2 lbs. chuck steak, diced
2 cups beef broth
2 cups water
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 tbsp. mirin
2 tbsp. perilla oil
1 tbsp. 고추장 gochujang (spicy red pepper and miso paste)
1 cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil (for flavor, optional)
enough water to get the dough to firm up
- Dice the chuck beef steak into bite-sized pieces.
- Put all the ingredients into the slow cooker.
- Set the slow cooker on low, and allow it to cook for 8 hours.
- About an hour before the jjigae is ready, make the dumplings.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder and 1 teaspoon of salt together in a bowl with the oil and water.
- Mix the dough for 1–2 minutes, until it begins to become firm.
- Drop the dough balls by tablespoon into the simmering soup.
- Replace the lid on the slow cooker, and allow to simmer on low for about 30-45 minutes.