MUST TRY Kimchi Jjigae Infused Panini

Amazing Kimchi Jjigae

My first time having kimchi jjigae (or stew) was when I lived in Korea. Okay, I’ve had kimchi jjigae while eating korean bbq since its always complimentary, but it was the watered down kind. But what can you expect from free stuff? They’re not going to give you anything fancy.
 
 

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Video                Recipe                     Detailed Instructions

 
 
Enjoying it in Korea was a game changer and it wasn’t a side dish, it was the main course. There was a bunch of variations you could get such as beef, tuna, or even vegetarian friendly with tofu. However, my favorite would either be with pork belly or clams. For some reason the flavors melds in unison together. I tend to like mine with pork belly because it just goes well with everything. Pork belly is such a versatile protein that I used it for spicy fried rice.

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Kimchi Jjigae Withdrawal Symptoms

Unfortunately, when I left Korea, I no longer had the luxury of enjoying amazing Kimchi jjigae. I could find it if I ventured all the way to Koreatown and diligently search. But that’s a lot of effort especially if I have to fight traffic gettin to DTLA. Its amazing to have, but its not worth fighting traffic to get disappointed.

Taking Kimchi Jjigae into My Own Hands

Thats when I decided to find an easy recipe to make it. Luckily, it was super simple and tasted amazing. The Korean stew is normally eaten with rice. You would get a spoonful of rice and dip it into the stew. It tasted amazing like this, but I wanted something different. In fact, I could have gone keto and enjoyed the stew by itself, but I wanted to get more adventurous and try something new. I wanted to mesh a panini sandwich with this delicious kimchi jjigae.

kimchi jjigae panini
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Kimchi Jjigae Panini

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Cuisine: Fusion, Korean
Keyword: kimchi jjigae, panini
Servings: 1

Equipment

  • panini press
  • stew pot

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Cook the pork belly 
  • Then cook the chopped kimchi until it has soften a bit. 
  • In a small pot, add the cooked kimchi into a pot with water, sesame oil, gochujang, gochugaru, garlic powder.
  • Stir together until it becomes a red pastey stew. 
  • Afterwards add in the cooked pork belly into the pot and cook together until half of the liquid has dissolved. 
  • If you’re using a strange pot like me that evaporates water so quickly, simply cook for 5 minutes and add more water if needed. 
  • The end result should be a thicker paste.
  • Scoop out the meat and kimchi together, but leave out the sauce (that should be quite thick by now)
  • Place the meat and kimchi onto half a baguette or onto a sandwich of your choice.
  • Generously spread cheddar cheese on top and place the baguette into a panini press.
  • Flip every 3 minutes and check if its crispy and done. 
  • Dip the freshly pressed kimchi jjigae panini into the leftover sauce and enjoy!

Kimchi Jjigae Panini Sandwich

This works because kimchi jjigae is suppose to be quite thick compared to other watery soup. When I used the fillings for my panini, there was no soup dripping everywhere. This is ideal for a panini because all the flavor from the stew is still clung to the meat. Even better is that most of the water content evaporated. That left me with an amazing sauce for dipping my panini into. 

Hence, I started with craving for the amazing Korean stew and left with a new creation – kimchi jjigae panini. I ended up getting the best of both worlds, a super savory stew flavored panini. The best part of having my kimchi jjigae in a panini is that I don’t have to eat it slowly. Although its super delicious to dip every spoonful of rice into my stew, it takes a long time to eat. That method is definitely for savoring your food instead of devouring it. In a panini sandwich, I can take big bites and eat it all at once because its just that damn good.

Detailed Instructions - Kimchi Jjigae Panini

Kimchi jjigae might seem difficult for those who never made it before, but it actually requires just a few ingredients. The main ones are the gochujang, gochugaru, garlic, and kimchi. The protein is interchangeable depending on what you want. You can add pork belly, tuna, or even other beef. Its all up to you. The baguette and cheese is simply for me to make a panini.

The first step is to cook the pork belly a bit. You don’t have to and can throw in the pork belly into the stew when its cooking, but I personally wanted some grilled texture in my meat instead of just boiled. 

Next would be cooking the kimchi. Just like the pork belly, you could simply dump them all into the stew, but since I already cooked the pork belly, it had released some juices. Cooking the kimchi this way adds a nice added depth of flavor. 

After the kimchi is cooked for a about 2 minutes, you can go ahead and add in water to start the stew. 

Add in the gochujang.

Add in the garlic powder. 

kimchi jjigae panini

And finally stir in the gochujang. This will give it it the super red color and allow the stew to thicken a bit. 

Next to add in the pork belly from earlier and cook in the flavor for a few minutes. Let it evaporate until there’s only 1/3 of the stew left. 

kimchi jjigae panini

When you’re scooping out the meat and kimchi, it should leave you with a tenth of the remaining stew because the meat and kimchi take up most of the space. With the stew having most of the water content evaporated, you’re left with a sauce that can be used for dipping. 

After scooping out the fillings of the kimchi jjigae, we can finally make our panini sandwich. Open up the baguette and cover the whole surface. But not too much as we still have to layer it with cheese. 

Completely cover the fillings with mozzarella cheese or a cheese of your own choice.  The more the better. 

Then bring out the trusty panini press, and press away. Flip every few minutes to give both sides a crispy touch and to meld the flavors together. 

kimchi jjigae panini

Viola! Its done! a kimchi jjigae infused panini sandwich with a kimchi jjigae sauce for dipping. Double the flavor and double the punch!

kimchi jjigae panini

Take a bite of the kimchi jjigae panini as it is or rip pieces off and dip it into the kimchi jjigae sauce!

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