Sundays are typically quiet affairs where I spend much of the day cleaning and generally preparing for the week ahead. It is also the day I cook myself the meals I need for the coming work week, so much of my Sunday afternoons are spent in the kitchen. In my Sunday Dinner series, I highlight some of my culinary concoctions. This week’s dinner is…
Steamed Tofu with Fried Kimchi and Pork Belly
Korean again? Yep, in my house, Korean meals aren’t just occasional — they’re the majority. That’s not just the Julianne influence, but something I’ve been doing for myself since I first went to Korea back in 2004.
Admittedly, steamed tofu and kimchi (in Korean, this is commonly referred to as ‘dubu kimchi’ or 두부 김치) was never something I was really fond of having on a regular basis. But that was because I was having the restaurant version. When I actually had it in mind to make this myself, my thinking on this dish changed radically. I even told Julianne to expect us to have this once a week. It’s economical, it’s filling and it’s insanely healthy. I add the pork belly to it to make it a little less healthy, but it’s so much better with it than with straight-up kimchi.
One thing to note though, especially if you’re someone who doesn’t eat or buy kimchi very often (after all, kimchi is very much an acquired taste) — fresh kimchi will work, but you’ll find that it won’t come out very spicy unless you’re adding hot pepper powder to it. I would typically use an aged kimchi (something that’s been in the fridge for about a week) as this will pop with flavour.
1 package medium-firm tofu
1 package pork belly, cut into 2 inch pieces
4 cups kimchi
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 green onions, chopped
1tsp sesame seeds (optional)
- In a large pot, bring one cup of water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-high and add whole tofu to the pot and cover. Boil for 5 minutes.
- In a large saucepan, fry the pork belly slices, garlic and green onions. Do not add oil as the pork belly is naturally oily. Once the pork belly is cooked, drain the excess oil if necessary.
- Add kimchi to saucepan with pork belly and fry for about 5-7 minutes, until the redness of the kimchi becomes darker. Optionally, top the kimchi with sesame seeds.
- Cut tofu into squares about 1cm thick.
- Plate the tofu (some will put tofu on half of the plate, while others will put tofu on the outer rim of the plate, leaving the centre available).
- Plate the fried pork belly and kimchi on the plate.
Some recipes will call for adding sugar or soy sauce, which add additional flavour to it at the expense of increasing fat and sodium content. The kimchi itself is flavourful enough for me, and so I avoid using any extra sauce or seasoning when I can. The only thing I do sometimes add is some hot pepper powder to it, but that’s rare.
For those who do not have some pork belly at home, I’ve tried this with bacon as well and it is an adequate substitute. That said, pork belly is typically a thicker cut than bacon, so you’ll have to adjust frying times.