Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Thursday, February 2

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Who's Mommy's Little Piggy? Nachos for Breakfast »

Recipe Wed Dec 03 2008

Crazy for Kimchi Chigae

kimchichigaenewIf it's snowing out, chances are you'll find me in my kitchen cooking my favorite comfort dishes. Chief among them for me at this time of year: kimchi chigae (sometimes "jjigae"), the spicy, garlicky, fizzily fermented Korean kimchi-beef stew.

When I first sampled the stuff at the home of old Korean friend I-don't-freaking-look-like-Margaret-Cho Rozella, she was shocked I could stand this brew so atypical for an anglo like me to relish.

"You're, like, only the second white person I know who'll touch the stuff," she told me.

Too bad for anyone else, I say. Besides being cheap and easy to make, the stew not only offers a similar depth of flavor and root vegetable-based texture to more traditionally American stews, but the fact the main ingredient has spent several of the past few months in a pickle jar (allegedly) offers some friendly health benefits as well.

I like to get my ingredients at Chicago Food Corp., the enormous Korean grocery at 3333 North Kimball Avenue just north of Belmont (adjacent to the Kennedy Expressway). You can always ask for mild kimchi if you're heat-averse (very unlike Yours Truly, mind you).

Here's how I make my favorite Korean stew brew...

1 qt. cabbage kimchi, sliced
1 lb. pork belly, cubed
1 container med. Tofu, cubed
1 tablespoon Korean beef powder
1 large onion, sliced
1 green onion, small chop

Toss everything except the tofu and the green onion in a big stock pot with some of the kimchi juice and enough extra water to cover, and let it vigorously simmer for about half an hour. Take it off the heat and stir in the tofu. Serve it with medium grain rice (Japanese rice is best), served as a side dish and garnished with the green onion. Alternate between a spoon of stew and a spoon of rice.

You can pair this with any spicy red or sparkling white wine you'd normally pair with spicy or even fishy food (a Rioja, Rhone, Vinho Verde, etc.)

Even better, finish off with Korean red-bean-paste ice cream (also available at Chicago Food Corp). Much better. Mmm...

GB store
GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

GB store



Drive-Thru on Flickr

Join the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

About Drive-Thru

Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Robyn Nisi,
Drive-Thru staff inbox:



 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15