Kimchi Stew with Tofu and Mushrooms (Vegan Kimchi Jigae)
I don’t know what is in the air. I assure you, it was not weather-related. No snow or ice around here.
Between myself and my sister-in-law, we have a veritable collection of injuries: 2 sprained knees and 1 sprained (or broken, we’re not sure) toe. Sadly, it was me with both knees sprained. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) for my sister-in-law, sprained and broken toes are treated the same way.
Also sad is that I have not yet come up with a sexy story to explain my bilaterally braced knees. NOT MY BIKE, thankyouverymuch. In any case, each day is getting better.
I followed my mnemonic from medical school: RICE. Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation. (Of course, after a free consultation from my trauma surgeon friend to confirm my suspicions nothing was broken). And of course: anti-inflammatories for pain management. Turns out there is a modified mnemonic for that inclusion: PRINCE, including P for protection and N for NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. I like it!
Serendipitously, I also happened to make the perfect “anti-inflammatory” soup a few days before I went down. A warming soup filled with cabbage, mushrooms, garlic and tofu. Kimchi, pickled napa cabbage, added a lot of flavour. It was perfect to help me recover.
There is evidence fruits and vegetables possess anti-inflammatory properties and the reasons are multi-factorial. Some fruits and vegetables contain naturally occurring salicylates, the compound found in aspirin. This explains why vegetarians have naturally occurring salicylate levels in their blood, albeit not likely therapeutic. While I have heard of people shunning “nightshade” vegetables, including potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers and eggplant, because they are “pro-inflammatory”, I have not found any solid scientific evidence to support hiding from the nightshades. (If you know of any articles, please share!).
Anyways, this soup. Delicious. Not too spicy although this soup was a bit of a mystery to me. When I ate it right after making it, it was the perfect level of spice. I added the kimchi to taste, obviously. However, the soup was pretty bland as leftovers. The chiles had mellowed! To ramp the flavour back up, I added fresh kimchi to each subsequent serving. Definitely add to taste. Enjoy!
Kimchi Stew with Tofu and Mushrooms (Korean Vegan Kimchi Jigae)
Adapted from Connoisseurus Veg
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cups stemmed and sliced shiitake mushrooms
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb sliced cabbage (half a medium head, 4-5 cups)
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup kimchi + more if desired
1 lb extra firm tofu, cubed (preferably pressed)
4 scallions, chopped
1. In a medium or large pot over medium heat, add oil. Once hot, add onions and saute until soft, around 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic and sprinkle with salt. Saute until the mushrooms are releasing some of their juices. Stir in the cabbage and continue to saute until it softens slightly.
2. Deglaze the pot with the vegetable broth. Add tofu and kimchi. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover with a lid. Simmer for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to meld. Sprinkle with green onions. Taste and add additional kimchi if needed.