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Kimchi stew with tuna

Kimchi stew with a bowl of rice

Serves 4



  • 2.7 lb napa cabbage

  • ½ cup + 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 cups water

  • 2 tablespoons sweet rice flour (glutinous rice flour)

  • 2 teaspoons + 2 tablespoons raw sugar (or white or brown sugar)

  • ½ cup garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 teaspoon ginger, minced

  • ½ cup fish sauce

  • ¼ cup fermented salted shrimp, chopped

  • 2 teaspoons + 2 cups Korean hot pepper flakes

  • 2 cups radish, julienned

  • 1 cup carrot, julienned

  • 2 ¼ cups fermented kimchi, cut into 2-in. pieces

  • 1 cup onion, sliced + 1 cup onion, minced

  • 9–10 green onions, chopped and divided

  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

  • 1 cup tofu, sliced

  • 1–2 cans of tuna


  • ¼ cup kimchi brine

  • 1 cup water celery

  • 1 cup garlic chives, chopped (or 3 green onions, chopped)


Step 1 - Preparing the cabbage

  1. Trim cabbage cores if needed.

  2. Split the cabbage into halves. (For tips on how to split the cabbage, see “Tips” section.)

  3. Slit the core of each half about 2 in. above the stem. (The cabbage leaves should be loose but still attached to the core.)

  4. Add the halves to a large basin of water to get the cabbage wet. Sprinkle ½ cup kosher salt between the leaves by lifting each leaf, adding more salt closer to the stems where the leaves are thicker.

  5. Soak the cabbage for 2 hours. Turn the halves over every 30 minutes to ensure even salting. Occasionally scoop water from the bottom of the basin; ladle over the cabbage.

  6. Rinse the cabbage halves under cold running water. Wash well to remove residue.

  7. Split the halves into quarters along the slits you cut earlier. Cut off the cores; use a strainer to drain.


Step 2 - Making the porridge

  1. Combine the water and the sweet rice flour in a small pot. Mix well with a wooden spoon.

  2. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until it starts to bubble.

  3. Add 2 tablespoons raw sugar and cook for 1 more minute, stirring.

  4. Remove from heat and let cool.

  5. Pour cooled porridge into a large mixing bowl. Add garlic, ginger, onion[AP8] , fish sauce, fermented salted shrimp, and 2 cups of Korean hot pepper flakes. Mix well until the mixture turns into a thin paste.

  6. Add the radish, carrot, and 7–8 chopped green onions. (Optional: Add garlic chives [or 3 more green onions] and water celery.) Mix well.


Step 3 - Finishing the kimchi

  1. Spread porridge on each cabbage leaf. When each leaf in a quarter is covered with paste, put it in a jar, plastic container, or an onggi.

  2. Consume kimchi right away or allow it to ferment for a few days. (For more tips on fermentation, see “Tips” section.)


Step 4 - Making the stew

  1. Place 2 ¼ cups of kimchi in a shallow, heavy pot or pan.

  2. Add kimchi brine (optional), onion, green onion, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, 2 teaspoons hot pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons sugar, and toasted sesame oil.

  3. Add 2 ½ cups of water and cover. Cook for 25 minutes over medium-high heat. (If kimchi boils over, slightly lift the lid and add water so that the kimchi and ingredients are always submerged.)

  4. Stir the stew; add tuna and tofu. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, until tofu turns soft.

  5. Sprinkle with the chopped green onion and serve right away with rice or a side dish of your choice.



Splitting a cabbage

To split a cabbage in half without shredding the densely packed leaves inside, cut a short slit in the base of the cabbage (enough to get a grip), and then gently pull the halves apart so the cabbage splits open.


Kimchi ferments within a day or two at room temperature, depending on ambient temperature and humidity. (The warmer and more humid it is, the faster the kimchi will ferment.) Once the kimchi starts to ferment, it will smell and taste sour, and pressing on the top of the kimchi with a spoon will release bubbles. Store kimchi in the refrigerator to use as needed (this slows down the fermentation process, which will make the kimchi more sour).