A Korean-American friend of mine told me a while back that I must have been Korean in my previous life. I just love Korean food, even dishes that she thought would be too spicy for many people. I used to devour her homecooked lunch. LOL!
I do love Korean food but most of the dishes are laden with sodium. I learned that because of long and very cold winters in Korea, Koreans pickle vegetables for preservation and in order for vegetables to be available during the winter season.
I am so thrilled that I have been finding Korean food blogs featuring Korean dishes that are very quick and easy to make. Lucky for me, being in the Bay Area, the spices that are essential in cooking Korean food are very accessible. I am just a short drive away from a Korean market.
I decided that I want to try to make more Korean dishes so I loaded up on kimchi, gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste), gochugaru (Korean chili powder) and doenjang (Korean soy bean paste). And every time I go to the Korean market, I cannot resist getting food from the hot food section such as Korean sushi and different kinds of kimchi.
Since it is zucchini season, I decided to make a vegan zucchini version of the Korean Gochujang Stew (Gochujang Jjigae). This stew can be made with meat or clams but I opted out on the meat and chose the easiest and quickest yet so delicious way to make it. I made two different versions: one with zucchini and potato and one with sweet potatoes and tofu.
The most important ingredient in making this stew is gochujang which is a spicy red chili paste. Here is an article on Bon Appetit about gochujang. It can also be ordered on Amazon. (This is not a sponsored post.)
I brought some of the zucchini and potato stew to my coworkers who were initially shocked by how spicy it was. LOL! I even used mild gochugang. However, for the ones who could tolerate the heat, they loved it. They keep on asking me to make some more. Even Mr Sweetie really liked this stew despite not really into spicy food.
Quick tip: The rice will cut through the spiciness so eat it with hot rice. Have lots of rice ready because you might not be able to stop eating this stew!
This recipe is for the one with zucchini and potatoes, and has been adapted from Korean Bapsang.
Korean Red Chili Pepper Stew with Zucchini and Potatoes (gochujang jjigae)
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1 medium potato (2 small)
- 1 or 2 green onions, sliced
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 1/2 TBPS gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste)
- 2 cups water or water used to rinse rice ) or vegetable broth
- Cut the zucchini and potatoes into about 1/2-inch thick bite size pieces. Roughly chop the scallion. Thinly slice the peppers.
- Add 2 cups of water (or rice water, if using) to a pot along with the red chili pepper paste (gochujang). Stir well to dissolve. Bring it to a boil.
- Drop the potatoes in and bring it to a boil again. Continue to boil for a minute or two. Then add the zucchini, garlic and scallions.
- Cook until the potatoes and zucchini are tender. Eat by itself or best eaten with a side bowl of rice.
- If you want to make sweet potato and tofu version, substitute regular potatoes with sweet potatoes. Add tofu in place of zucchini. Add mushrooms, if desired. If you want to make it spicier, add chili peppers.
Did you make KOREAN RED CHILI PEPPER STEW? Please let me know by leaving a comment below.