simple stew for using up canned fish and kimchi

1. motivation & background

Someone gave me a large amount of kimchi. I also had a canned fish: mackerel or saury. I decided to combine them and make kimchi jjigae, also known as kimchi stew, to help use them up. Since the goal was to use them up and to try to see if I can make a stew, it didn’t come to my mind that I should add tofu, onion or other things. The result was a very simple stew made of kimchi and fish only. It didn’t taste much different from other better made kimchi jjigae I tried in restaurants.

2. how to turn canned fish and kimchi into stew

There was one can of about six fish. That is six servings. I put all six fish into the pot. I did not use the juice in the can. Then I poured water and about 12 big pieces of kimchi into the pot. By one piece, I mean one nappa cabbage leaf. I thought two leaves for one serving would be good. Then I added gochujang, soy sauce, vinegar as condiment, and started boiling with the lid on.

2.1. how much water

I don’t think the exact amount matters as long as it can cover the ingredients. Boiling with lid on means water can’t escape and that also adds to why the exact amount doesn’t matter.

2.2. choice of condiments

Why and how much of gochujang, soy sauce and vinegar? I added one spoon of vinegar in the hope that it would neutralize fish odor. I don’t know if one spoon is good. Gochujang was added because that’s the main condiment for kimchi jjigae. How much? As much to make the stew color look right. One spoon of soy sauce. The idea is that these condiments would hopefully help with

  • preservation of leftover stew
  • neutralizing or hiding fish odor
  • flavor

2.3. how much time to boil

Enough to see kimchi become a bit transparent. If your kimchi is already a bit transparent out of the box, then no need to boil for long.

Canned fish comes already cooked. That may be another reason you don’t need to boil for long. My canned fish was a can of six fish in it. If you are using canned tuna, that would be a can of a section of one tuna. In that case, you might want to add the tuna near the end of the boiling period instead, because tuna likes to break apart.

3. leftover stew

3.1. storage

Into a big enough airtight container and into the fridge. I ate the leftover cold stew for four days and I did not get sick.

3.2. oddities

I was expecting to see some jelly-like surface to form on my leftover stews. The surface never appeared. Good but I am wondering why it never appeared. Maybe because I did not use the juice in the can?

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