Chicago chef Beverly Kim's kimchi jjigae calls for anchovy stock, the Korean counterpart to Japanese dashi, which lends depth and umami to the stew. For shortcut versions, you can buy packets of anchovy powder and add water, or use pre-made Korean dashi "tea" bags of dried kelp, anchovy and shrimp, such as these. Or you can make your own in about 30 minutes (plus soaking time) out of dried anchovies, kelp and a few aromatic veggies.
If you buy dasi, the largest dried anchovies, like these, you'll need to remove the head and guts (which can impart bitter flavors) before you start the stock. Look instead for medium-size anchovies, such as these, which don't require removing the guts.
Kim suggests making a big batch of stock and freezing it for later uses like odeng guk (Korean fish cake soup), doenjang jjigae (fermented soybean paste soup) and kongnamul guk (soybean sprout soup). Or you can pan fry them with onions for a delicious snack or side dish like her mom does: Remove the guts from a handful of anchovies, then toast them in a pan with oil for a few minutes. Add a sliced onion and cook until the onions caramelize. Add a teaspoon or two each of minced garlic and ginger, a splash each of rice syrup and soy sauce, and cook down until the flavors marry. This sweet, salty banchan is delicious piled over rice for lunch.
- 1 4-inch piece dried kelp
- 8-10 large dried anchovies (guts removed) or 1/3 cup medium-sized anchovies (no need to gut)
- 1/4-1/2 mu, or Korean, radish, peeled and cut into chunks (substitute with any white radish)
- 3 cloves garlic, whole
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 3 scallions (white part only)
- 1-2 dried shiitake mushrooms (optional)
- Soak the kelp in 5 cups of water for 1 1/2 hours in a medium sauce pot. Meanwhile, toast the anchovies in a dry pan over low heat for a few minutes. Set aside. (Note: If you don't want bits of anchovy floating in your stock, you can wrap the toasted anchovies in cheesecloth.)
- Bring the sauce pot to a boil, then remove the softened kelp (if you simmer it too long, it will become bitter). Add the toasted anchovies and remaining ingredients and simmer, with the lid on top but slightly open, for about 30 minutes, skimming the foam on top every once in a while. Taste it (heavenly, right?); you're looking for a balanced flavor of sea, brightness from the radish and savoriness from the alliums.
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