With the weather so so cold, lately I’ve been all about the spice, from the hot honey I discovered at the delicious Paulie Gee’s pizza shop in Greenpoint to the Chinese chili bean paste that I’ve been adding to everything. (I also recently tried out Brodo, New York’s broth stand, and loved the spicy kick of the gingered grass-fed beef broth with calabrian chili oil.) I picked up a jar of locally produced-kimchi the other day and decided to add it into a pot of stew along with some tofu and a big spoonful of that Chinese chili paste. The fiery flavor has since become my go-to easy dinner prep, as the big batch easily lasts the week. It’s such a simple combination of vegetables, broth, kimchi, and tofu, but it’s so filling and so spicy!
For this batch I used sweet potato, mushroom, and napa cabbage, but it’s really an anything goes type of recipe, so throw in whatever vegetables you have. You can use homemade kimchi if you have it, but a good quality prepared jar works fine. And for the heat, you can also use the Korean hot pepper paste Gochujang. (I’m not the only one who loves making this recipe; I noticed the week after I first made it that Bon Appetit shared a recipe for their version. Smart minds!)
Spicy Kimchi Tofu Stew
Yield: 8 servings
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 sweet potato, cubed
1 head cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 16-ounce jar kimchi
2 tablespoons toban djan (Chinese hot pepper paste)
2 quarts vegetable stock
1 16-oz. package firm tofu, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 green onions, thinly sliced on a bias
In a large heavy duty pot, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the sweet potato and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the potato starts to soften. Add the cabbage and mushrooms and continue to cook for 5 more minutes, letting the cabbage start to soften. When the cabbage begins to turn translucent, add the juice from the kimchi, toban djan, and soy sauce, and stir to completely cover the vegetables in the sauce. Add the kimchi, stock, and tofu and increase heat to bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until the flavors have married and the vegetables are cooked through.
Add the soy sauce and season to taste with salt and additional toban djan. Ladle into bowls and garnish with onions and sesame seeds.