I was so wrong. After about a month, after seeing husband and daughters gulp it down at meals with rice, my mouth would water and my stomach would twist in knots craving the flavor. The desire was intense and my stomach and heart ached for the loss of the food.
Then about a month ago, I had my son skin tested for allergies to discover that he was not allergic to shrimp after all, but WAS allergic to sesame, another key component in Korean cooking. The sesame seemed to matter less as now it meant that I could have kimchee again! I was not convinced of the diagnosis, so I waited before trying kimchee full force.
When I decided that I was ready to handle testing out the kimchee, I had, in my refrigerator, a tub of "kimchee scraps" which my mom collected for me when she was here last. Kimchee scraps are just the bits of kimchee that are perhaps left in the plate when the meal is done, or tiny bits of kimchee that aren't pretty enough for the serving dish. The scraps continue to ripen as you collect them and they are absolutely PERFECT for making Kimchee Chigae (kimchee stew). I decided instead, however, to make some fried kimchee with bacon. I like to do it normally with the Korean samgyupsaal (pork belly) but I did not have easy access to a Korean supermarket and I had bacon.
Bacon adds a smokiness and saltiness that some people do love. I'm not sure how I feel about the saltiness addition because kimchee is salty on it's own, gets saltier as you fry and reduce down the juices, and adding bacon just adds another layer. But it did end up delicious and daughter #2 also ate some while guzzling water in between bites. It was the perfect quick meal...and I have no regrets about eating it.
This is traditionally served with chunks of firm tofu. It is delicious when you take a chunk of the tofu, a piece of pork and a piece of kimchee and eat it all as one. However, as my son is allergic to soy, I ate it with rice.
Fried Kimchee with Pork
3 cups of chopped kimchee, with the liquid
8 slices of bacon or samgyupsahl (pork belly) cut into fourths
2 cloves of garlic pressed
2 tablespoons ginger grated
2 tablespoons sesame oil or vegetable oil, more if needed (if you like sesame flavor add sesame oil, and if you find it too strong, add vegetable oil - or a mix of both)
1 tablespoon of sesame seed
1 package of cold tofu, cut into chunks
Place bacon or samgyupsahl (pork belly) in pan with garlic and ginger over medium high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes to render some of the fat. Add kimchee and the kimchee liquid into the fry pan. (The more liquid you add the spicier and saltier it will be.) Stir and cook over medium high heat, reducing liquids, and adding oil if necessary. (if it starts looking dry add a tablespoon of oil.) Dish is completed when the thicker pieces of kimchee take on a slightly translucent quality. The riper the kimchee the faster this happens.
Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Serve with tofu - enjoy! (my picture does not have sesame, as my son is allergic.)
The perfect bite - cold sweet smooth tofu, topped with salty kimchee and chewy pork