Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Comfort food: Kimchi Soup

The first week of school so far has been a real bummer; first, I sprain my ankle yesterday when I miss a step on the stairs. Then today, I find out that my long cherished dream of going on exchange programme is dead. All in all, it has been a crappy 2 days, and of course, my first instinct is to turn to food. The frantic craving for something oily and deep fried, I'm sure, will come later, but first I want some Kimchi soup.

I'm sure a Korean will suffer a pulmonary attack at the way I make this soup, but I'm not in Korea and it tastes great the way I make it, so there. There are four basic components to Kimchi soup and they are highly variable.


Right, don't think I need to explain this. I don't know about other countries, but in Singapore kimchi can be found at most big supermarkets. It may be tucked far into a fridge somewhere, but most should carry it. How much to use depends on your heat tolerance and your other ingredients. I like lots of kimchi, and when cooking for myself, sometimes even omit fresh vegetables altogether and add only kimchi


You can use any kind, and any amount. Some suggestions would be cabbage, long beans, carrots, aubergines, etc


The usual, and my favorite, would be the rice vermicelli. Its a transparent, slippery and silky noodles that soaks up all the delicious flavour of kimchi, or any other soup base it is thrown into, and thus perfect here. If unable to locate, any kind of noodles, or even rice, can be used, to make kimchi porridge. How much to use depends on whether you are eating this as a soup, with other dishes, or as a one pot meal.

PROTEINS [the animal kind]

Any kind of meat or seafood can be used in the soup. Pork, chicken, beef, lamb, prawns, squid, fish, etc. A combination would taste even better. Today I'm using prawns.

Ok, this is a real simple dish which takes like 15 mins to cook. Before doing anything, start with soaking the vercemilli in water.

First, if using prawns, wash well and peel them, reserving the shells and heads.

Add suitable amount of water to the shells and heads and bring to a boil to make stock. Remove shells and heads, either by straining or picking them out. Keep the liquid simmering.

Cut up fresh vegetables, and add to stock, along with the kimchi.

Let boil for around 10 mins, then add the drained vercemilli.

Finally, just before serving, stir in the prawns. Don't let the prawns cook too long, as they will become tough, instead of springy. And there's the Kimchi soup done.

Now, with a bowl of kimchi soup and a few hours of the Lord of the Rings, I can be on my way towards recovery. What do my problems matter when compared to the ultimate fight between good and evil? Besides, which girl wouldn't be cheered by a few hours of ogling at medieval hunks, brimming with testosterone, beating the crap out of the baddies?

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