I think majority of people think of “Kimchi” when they hear the word “Korea” and yes, Kimchi is probably the most famous and well known food of Korea. Kimchi is like a must-have for Koreans…. Whether or not they are poor or rich, young or old, Kimchi has to be in their refrigerator or people will take pity on you.
My brother lives alone in Seoul working as a graphic designer (he is so artistic!) and she often makes Kimchi and sends it over to him via mail (Korea’s mail delivery system is amazing) so that he can have Kimchi in his fridge. So Kimchi is a very important part of Koreans. I remember thinking as a child ‘Oh I’m so sick and tired of Kimchi! I so don’t wanna see Kimchi in my lunchbox today!’ Everyone’s Kimchi tastes different and when you get used to your mom’s Kimchi, then no one else’s Kimchi seems to be good enough… so you don’t really even wanna try someone else’s Kimchi (unless you’re at a restaurant. Some restaurant Kimchis are good.. although I have tried some really gross ones) so I always felt embarrassed whenever my Kimchi ban chan didn’t get eaten by my friends because they all preferred sausages and meaty ban chans.
But Kimchi Bokum (Fried Kimchi) was always a hit among all of my friends that I ate lunch with. You use old Kimchi to stirfry, with some sesame oil and sugar. If you’ve had Kimchi Bokum Bap, then you can imagine what the Kimchi might taste like… It’s wonderful and it’s everyone’s favorite.
Koreans never throw away Kimchi that’s been sitting in the fridge for a while.. They call it “Shin Kimchi 신김치” and it’s used in many different kinds of recipes, in Kimchi Jjigae, Kimchi Bokkum Bap, or anything that requires fried Kimchi usually uses Shin Kimchi. So no, you shouldn’t throw away old Kimchi. You should make yummy things with it.
- 1 cup chopped Kimchi with ¼ cup Kimchi juice
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons mulyeot (Korean corn syrup) or 1 tablespoon sugar
- sesame seeds
- Add the chopped kimchi with its juice in pan, cooking over medium high heat. Continue to cook until the juice evaporates, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add sesame oil and corn syrup and stir for another 2-3 minutes, or until the color of Kimchi becomes darker and richer. Remove from heat and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
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