Kimchi Tofu Eggplant Stew, (Jigae)
You’ll look forward to having extra kimchi just laying around for this fast, light and super healthy stew. All the juices that drain from the kimchi as it ages form the basis for a rich and spicy broth. Rice is an obvious side, but soft steamed bao is just as nice an companion.
2 cups aged kimchi, well drained (reserve juices)
½ pound Asian eggplant
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon rice cooking wine
3 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 ½ -2 ½ cups mixture of reserved kimchi juice and water
8 ounces firm tofu (half a water packed package), or fried tofu or pressed tofu
2 teaspoons sugar or agave nectar
6 scallions, green tops only
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1. Chop kimchi into 1 inch wide ribbons; it will be very juicy, so if your cutting board isn’t very large try carefully slicing kimchi in wide bowl to catch all of those precious juices. Drain juices from kimchi and set aside. Remove flower end from eggplant and slice on a 45 degree angle into 1/2 wide slices; sprinkle slices with a pinch of salt and let soften for 10 minutes.
2. Heat oil in a wok or 12 inch wide deep stainless steel skillet over high heat, add eggplant and fry 2 minutes, turning occasionally until lightly browned. Sprinkle rice wine over eggplant, cover and steam for 30 seconds. Add chopped kimche and garlic and fry for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour on kimchee juice and water and bring to a simmer.
3. Add tofu, sugar/agave nectar and scallions, stirring occasionally and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, sprinkle with sesame oil and serve with hot rice.