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This is my favourite food on earth, hands down.

The first time I had doenjang jigae was at the only (at that time) Japanese/Korean restaurant in the area where I grew up, Tokyo Seoul. My best friend and I were proto-weeaboos: more music for me than anime or manga, more video games for both of us than anything else, but still annoying little whitebread wannabe Asians. As such, we demanded Japanese food whenever possible, and when our parents were especially generous, they took us to Tokyo Seoul.

Although Japanese food took up the bulk of the menu, Korean soups, stews, noodles, and appetizers also made an appearance. For about a year, I was entranced by the “spicy tofu soup” advertised on the Korean side of the menu, but didn’t have the nerve to order it- what if it had fish or pork or something else in it that was really, really gross?

One day, though, I got up the courage to ask. Yes, there were small clams in it, but they could leave those out. The broth was okay. The waitress warned me that it was spicy- was that okay?

Uh, yeah!

Every single spoonful was astonishing. Although I didn’t yet have the tolerance for spice that I do now, necessitating constant spoonfuls from my rice bowl, I ate the whole sumbitch. And I repeated the experiment whenever I could. And then I realized there was a kimchi version, and my Grinch-y heart grew two sizes that day!

I make no claims for authenticity in this recipe, since it’s usually made with pork and, at least when I ordered it in Japan, small clams and the occasional shrimp. But doenjang jigae is a family dish, and every household has their own recipe, so here’s mine.

A note about kimchi: Kimchi is traditionally prepared with small shrimp and other fishy things in the fermenting stage. You can easily buy vegan kimchi at health food stores- even here in Nowhere, MT, I can find three different kinds- two at the health food store, and one at Albertson’s! It’s also very easy to make your own (recipe for that soon, still working on my first batch.) The issue I have with vegetarian kimchi is that it goes bad more quickly, so if you get a gallon jug of it, be prepared to add kimchi to everything you eat (I wouldn’t have any complaints!).

If you do not like kimchi, feel free to leave it out and add a touch more gochujang or kochukaru (the Korean chili pepper powder used in kimchi creation). By the way, my mom hates kimchi, but she LOVES this soup.

A note about the soy and sauce products: Doenjang can be substituted with white miso. Also, Wikipedia says better than I could that “While traditional homemade doenjang is made with soybeans and brine only, many factory-made variants of doenjang contain a fair amount of wheat flour just like most factory-made soy sauce does. Some current makers also add fermented, dried, and ground anchovies to accentuate the doenjang’s savory flavor.” So check the label! And if you can’t find nutritional info in English and you’re shopping at a Korean market, for goodness’ sake, get someone who works there to look for allergens on the label. It’s okay, don’t be shy.

Gochujang, which is a major component of this dish, can potentially have both wheat flour and sugar/other sweeteners in it. Again, check the label. If I had to use something else in place of gochujang, I would just lay on the kochukaru and add a touch of honey.

This recipe is completely vegan, if you don’t add butter or fish sauce and if you check the aforementioned ingredients for non-vegetarian allergens. You cannot make it soy-free.

KIMCHI DOEJANG JIGAE

Makes roughly six bowls of soup.

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste)

1 tablespoon doenjang (or white miso)

1 tablespoon mirin (can be substituted with sake or vodka)

2 cups water or vegetable broth (there’s plenty of salt in this, so use low or no sodium broth, if you can)

14 oz/400 grams cabbage kimchi (feel free to add more!)

4 cloves garlic

1 onion, halved and then sliced

1 tablespoon soy sauce

a dash of fish sauce (optional)

a dash of rice vinegar

400 grams of extra-firm tofu

1 zucchini, halved and sliced

2 tablespoons butter (optional)

2 scallions, chopped

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon olive oil (or a more neutral oil. I use olive oil for everything.)

1. Saute the onions and garlic in the mixed oils until the onions start becoming translucent.

2. Add broth, doenjang, gochujang, vinegar, fish sauce, mirin, and soy sauce.

3. Immediately after putting in wet ingredients, add kimchi, tofu, and zucchini.

4. Simmer covered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Add butter and stir in until melted.

6. Serve topped with scallions, alone or alongside a bowl of white rice.

I HATE YOUR CARB PROBLEMS: Rice, rice, baby. Also, put some sliced potatoes in with the wet ingredients!

I HATE YOUR VEGETARIAN FACE: Pork it up! Cook your pork with the onions and garlic (I think…)

I HATE YOUR BUTT: Whatever, loser, my butt is amazing.

 

Calories 129.0
  Total Fat 5.8 g
  Saturated Fat 2.0 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 1.3 g
  Cholesterol 6.6 mg
  Sodium 1,257.7 mg
  Potassium 186.9 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 11.6 g
  Dietary Fiber 2.9 g
  Sugars 5.2 g
  Protein 6.4 g
  Vitamin A 37.1 %
  Vitamin B-12 0.1 %
  Vitamin B-6 4.2 %
  Vitamin C 8.4 %
  Vitamin E 0.5 %
  Calcium 11.8 %
  Copper 6.1 %
  Folate 5.8 %
  Iron 6.6 %
  Magnesium 10.0 %
  Manganese 25.4 %
  Niacin 2.0 %
  Pantothenic Acid     1.0 %
  Phosphorus     9.0 %
  Riboflavin 2.7 %
  Selenium 7.1 %
  Thiamin 3.0 %
  Zinc 3.9 %
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The following recipe comes from the Something Awful Forums; which is the best thing on the internet. Their Goons With Spoons subforum is a great place for both amateur and professional cooks to ask questions and share ideas, and there’s literally no culinary query that goes unanswered. Also has an Iron Chef competition.

Make this recipe for when you have people over, or when you need a lot of leftovers. And use fresh ginger, dammit!

PEANUT-SQUASH STEW, thanks to SA goon EVG for posting the original

MAKES FIFTY THOUSAND SERVINGS

1 cup peanut butter

1 butternut squash (or other winter squash), peeled, cored, and cut into cubes

1 can tomatoes (not whole, but not sauce)

12 oz tomato juice (I have used V8 juice in this recipe with good results, but I’ve also forgotten the juice component altogether and used water or broth sparingly to thin it out.)

200g tofu, sliced or diced

1 cup cilantro

5-6 cloves of garlic

3 TBSP ginger

1/2 onion

Thyme

Red pepper flakes/cayenne (optional)

Black pepper

Olive oil

Oregano

1. Get your squash all naked and spread wide open. Awww, yeah.

2. Cut it into bite-sized (or smaller) cubes. (This part should not be sexy.)

3. Saute squash chunks in olive oil, along with tofu, red pepper, onions, ginger, and garlic. Cook until squash starts to soften, ~10-15 minutes.

4. Add juice, tomatoes, salt (to taste), and other spices. Simmer until squash is tender (~5-10 minutes).

5. Add cilantro, then peanut butter.

6. Stir peanut butter in until mixture becomes orangey in colour. Continue to simmer until stew reaches required thickness- I find that it’s a fine thickness shortly after the peanut butter is added, but your mileage may vary.

7. Serve in a variety of ways, as follows:

INTERESTED-IN-CARBS PARTIES: Rice, either white or brown.

LOW-CARB CHAMPIONS: Shredded chicken.

LOW-CARB VEGETARIANS WHO ARE INSANE PEOPLE LIKE MYSELF: Nothing! It’s very good on its own. Or cauli-rice.

CRAZY PEOPLE: AAA batteries.

This stew is great for a few days in the fridge, and it reheats well. Perfect for lunches. It’s also vegan and incredibly kid-friendly. Feel free to put some dark leafy greens like spinach or kale in it. This is FILLING AS HELL. Trust me, I really don’t recommend adding the rice at all. I’ve also used lovage in this recipe instead of cilantro (my husband is bad at herbs) and it was surprisingly good, so feel free to switch out the cilantro if you don’t like it.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:

  • Servings Per Recipe: 7
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 371.0
  • Total Fat: 28.0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 133.0 mg
  • Total Carbs: 24.2 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 4.4 g
  • Protein: 11.6 g

Here’s the link to the original thread, and an ACTUALLY RELATED PICTURE which I did not take:

Image

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I love gazpacho so much. If it were a person, I would marry it (if I weren’t already married, of course) (well, you know what, taste this first and get back to me).

When I was doing fieldwork in Spain for a summer, vegetarian options were pretty thin on the ground. I did manage to find one veggie restaurant in Madrid, which was decent-but-uninspiring, but mostly what I ate was…

1. Bread (usually baked in someone’s fireplace and harder than holy fuck)

2. Salad (If you can get it without tuna…iceberg lettuce, black olives, raw onions, maybe some tomato, canned corn, and oil ‘n vinegar dressing…a bit boring in bulk)

3. Carne vegetale (if you can find this, it’s actually fucking wicked when fried like a cutlet. No idea what it is, all they ever told me was “carne vegetale” and showed me the can so I could vet it for myself)

4. Gummy worms they sold at the bar/grocery store/family home that was the only business in our tiny town.

5. Egga. At the time, eggs made me vomit. I actually only learned to eat eggs because of my time in Spain! (and tortilla espanol is amazing)

So, I was pretty fucking grateful when gazpacho started showing up, and even when I got out of nowheresville for Madrid and Barcelona, I kept eating it in restaurants. It’s just so goddamn good- filling, low in fat, calories, and pretty low in carbs, totally vegetarian (and can be made vegan!), and really cools you off. Oh, yeah, it’s a cold soup, if you didn’t already know- there’s a part in Jaws (the book) where Chief Brody’s wife throws a dinner party in an attempt to reconnect with her former status as a wealthy “summer person,” and she makes gazpacho. Brody sees it on the stove, thinks it’s something gross that’s gone off and tries to throw it out, then chucks a pee-pee baby tantrum when it’s cold. God, that movie scared the shit out of me as a kid. Ugh.

ANYWAYS. This recipe is adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen. Nothing was wrong with the old one, if you ask me, but Moosewood is one of the few really all-encompassing veggie restaurants in the world, and since I grew up spitting distance from Ithaca anyways, it’s one of my favorites.

A few notes on tweaking this recipe: I added the bread, since Katzen’s recipe didn’t call for any, but gazpacho in its earliest form was likely a sort of pudding made of stale bread and olive oil. Plus, I wanted it to be a bit more filling, since it was meant as a meal. If you eliminate the bread, of course, the carb content lowers. It’s also a good option for vegans who don’t have any vegan bread on hand.

If you want to add that little bit of extra mouthfeel without the carbs of bread, try popping in a tablespoon or two of almond meal. I haven’t tried this, but it sounds tasty.

GAZ-FREAKIN’-PACHO: (Makes two large bowls or four small ones)

3 medium-sized tomatoes

Roughly 6 inches of cucumbers, peeled

1 medium-sized green pepper, chopped

2-3 sundried tomatoes, chopped/broken up

2 tbsp olive oil (or oil from the sundried tomatoes!)

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp white wine vinegar

1/4 cup of chopped onion

1 clove of garlic

Roughly 1/2-1 cup of tomato juice or V8 (if you use V8 and are watching your sodium, then you might not want to add any more salt.)

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup basil

2 scallions, chopped

2 pieces of stale bread, chopped

1 tsp sumac

To taste:

Salt

Pepper

Paprika

Cayenne

1. Chop every damn thing.

2. Blenderize

3. Season to taste

4. Chill and snarf, or just eat it right away.

Nutritional info: (for 1 out of 4 servings)

Calories 165.4
  Total Fat 9.8 g
  Saturated Fat 1.5 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.7 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 5.0 g
  Cholesterol 0.0 mg
  Sodium 169.3 mg
  Potassium 337.0 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 16.6 g
  Dietary Fiber 2.3 g
  Sugars 3.1 g
  Protein 3.0 g
  Vitamin A 25.6 %
  Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
  Vitamin B-6 7.0 %
  Vitamin C 64.1 %
  Vitamin D 0.0 %
  Vitamin E 6.9 %
  Calcium 2.7 %
  Copper 4.8 %
  Folate 6.2 %
  Iron 7.1 %
  Magnesium 4.0 %
  Manganese 8.3 %
  Niacin 3.7 %
  Pantothenic Acid     2.7 %
  Phosphorus     3.3 %
  Riboflavin 3.3 %
  Selenium 0.8 %
  Thiamin 4.9 %
  Zinc 1.2 %

Gazpacho isn’t very pretty, so here’s a picture of someone who is:

Image

EDIT: As usual, I am dumb at word[ress and can’t get the link to stick: http://www.amazon.com/Moosewood-Cookbook-Katzens-Classic-Cooking/dp/1580081304

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