Kimchi is a representative staple food of Korea. As one of the healthiest foods in the world packed with beneficial nutrients, kimchi proved to be popular among contemporary chefs to include the fermented side dish in their recipes and fusion dishes.

Recently, I joined the Kimchi Battle of the 2017 Global Taste of Korea 'Philippine Edition' and my entry dish for the competition was Kimchinigang, a Korean-Filipino fusion dish combining one of Korea's popular spicy fish stews ‘Maeuntang 매은탕’ and the Filipino favourite ‘Sinigang na Isda' which is a fish stewed in sour broth.

As part of the food trend and requested by many friends, I am sharing my own recipe of Kimchinigang. It’s a stew with a spicy yet sour taste basically of a fish cooked in dried seaweed, cherry tomatoes and fully fermented sour cabbage kimchi 배추김치base broth boiled along with various vegetables like Korean radish, eggplant, green cabbage and Asian chives. It is then seasoned with a bit of Korean spices including gochujang 고추장 (Korean red chili pepper paste) and gochugaru 고추가루 (red chili pepper flakes) without overpowering the mild sourness of the dish. To enhance its refreshing flavours, Busan fishcakes eomuk 어믁, shrimps and clams are good additions to the fish stew.

With our beautiful recipe, it’s time for you to take over the kitchen and try our version of the Korean-style stewed fish in spicy and sour kimchi broth.

100g ripe baechu kimchi배추 김치
       including juice

50g tofu두부
3pcs. eomuk 어묵 (Busan fishcakes)
1 whole red snapper fish (Maya-maya)
50g shrimp
50g/10 pcs. clams

3-5 cloves of garlic
1 medium size white onion
1 ginger
½ tbsp. fish sauce
½ tbsp. gochujang고추장
       (Korean red chili pepper paste)
½ tsp. gochugaru고추가루
       (Korean red chili pepper flakes)

15g dried kelp 다시마
50g Korean radish
50g eggplant가지
50g watercress (or Chinese cabbage)
30g cherry tomatoes
3 stalks of leeks (Asian chives)
3 green long pepper
1 red chili pepper

cooking oil
sea salt


1. Prepare the kimchi.
     a. Get the ripe cabbage kimchi, cut into bite sizes and put them in a bowl.
     b. Reserve the kimchi juice.

2. Prepare the spices.
     a. Slice at least 3 cloves of garlic.
     b. Peel 1 medium size white onion and cut it diagonally.
     c. Skin about ½ medium size ginger, slice it and set aside.
     d. Measure at least ½ tablespoon of fish sauce.
     e. Prepare ½ tablespoon of gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste).
     f. Prepare about ½ teaspoon of gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes).

3.     Prepare all the vegetables.
     a. Get about 15g of dried kelp seaweed, clean first with a dry cloth and soak in a bowl with 1 cup of water.
     b. Peel the Korean radish, cut it into bite size half slices and place in a bowl.
     c. Clean the eggplant and slice it as the size of the radish.
     d. Clean some bunches of watercress (if not available, Chinese cabbage will do) and set them aside along with the sliced eggplant. Put them in a bowl with water so the vegetables will retain their color.
     e. Wash the cherry tomatoes and set aside.
     f. Prepare the leeks, clean at least 3 stalks and cut into 5cm long.
     g. Clean at least 3 green long peppers and set them aside.
     h. Get 1 red chili pepper, clean and cut it about 1cm diagonally.

3   4.     Prepare the seafood and frozen goods.
          a. Prepare the tofu. Cut into 1.5cm cubes, place them in a bowl of water and set aside.
     b. Get about 3 pieces of Busan fishcakes, cut into bite size pieces and place in a container.
     c. Prepare the scaled and gutted red snapper fish. With a cutting board, chop it into several pieces, wash them thoroughly and set aside.
     d. Prepare the shrimp, cut half the heads tip and remove the intestines. Clean with water and set aside in a separate container.
     e. Clean the clams. Soak next in a bowl of water with salt, rinse it and set aside.

1. Prepare all the ingredients and place them in separate containers.
2. Make the kelp stock. In a deep pot of 5-6 cups of water, add the soaked kelp seaweed, some bite size pieces of Korean radish, the ginger slices, cloves of garlic and white onions. Put the pot lid and bring the stock mixture to boil for about 10 minutes over medium heat to allow the aroma and flavors to come out.

3. While waiting for the stock to boil, get the tofu cubes and fry them in an oiled pan over medium heat until all sides become golden brown and crispy. Set them in a container with blotting sheets to absorb excess oil.

4. Preheat the Korean pot over medium heat while waiting for the stock to boil. Note: If you want the Korean way of cooking fish stew, you can use the Korean pot right away instead of making the stock first in a separate pot.

5. After which, take the kelp seaweed out of the stock after boiling (or better not if you want) and then add the ripe kimchi slices and some cherry tomatoes into the stew. Let it boil for a few minutes.
6. Place the prepared stock into the pre-heated Korean pot.

7. Into the steaming pot, add the red snapper fish cuts and some pinch of sea salt. One at a time, place the shrimps and clams into the stew, put the lid back and allow them to boil.

8. Add a pinch of red chili pepper flakes, some gochujang or Korean red chili pepper paste and fish sauce including the fishcake pieces. Don’t stir and let it rest for 10 minutes. Occasionally taste the stew and add more sour kimchi or seasonings if desired.
9. Put all the vegetables. Add the eggplant, the rest of the sliced ​​radish and cherry tomatoes, stalks of leeks, watercress and green long peppers into the fish stew. Also, top the stir-fried tofu as well as the red chili pepper slices and let it boil for few minutes more until the seafood is cooked without putting back the pot lid to not overcook the vegetables.
10. Serve in a deep bowl while still hot paired with steamed white rice and side dishes.

Kimchinigang was the very first fusion dish that I made as an aspiring chef. With the fully fermented kimchi as the main ingredient (in which you can make your own and ferment it for months in the fridge), you will definitely enjoy the refreshing taste of the Korean-style fish stew. It's not necessarily you have to follow the entire recipe and if you can’t find any of the listed ingredients for the stew (which you can find most in a Korean store), don’t take a second taught to modify, substitute other ingredients and bring out your inner chef.
Have you tried our Kimchingang recipe? How was it? Let us know in the comment section and do tag us with your versions of the dish. Until our next culinary journey~
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