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애호박고추장찌개 aka Spicy Zucchini Hot Pot

I love this recipe so much, this was actually the 4th time I have made it! For those of you who know me, I am sure you are surprised. Typically, I dislike making a recipe more than once unless I really love the recipe, and even then I like trying other people’s variations of the recipe before making it again. To make it, I whipped out one of my favorite cookbooks called The Korean Table.

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Speaking of making recipes more than once, one time I made a wonderful rice pudding, which my mom loved so much she asked me to make it for a friend. Then one week later, she asked me to make it again for my grandma. This may sound completely normal to most people, but I was nearly tearing my hair out with my desire to make a different recipe—even if I was still going to make them rice pudding! (Seriously though, check out the link for La Fuji Mama’s recipe! I am a huge fan of her recipe and her blog)

As for the music of the recipe, I wanted to share a song which (like the recipe) gets stuck in your head. So without further ado, please click the link and listen to “Americano” by 10cm. My Korean teacher made us learn the song word-for-word, so it is good and permanently wedged in my brain… and since it is catchy and I included a video with English subtitles, it will now be stuck in your heads as well! *insert evil laughter*
Back to the recipe at hand, there are many reasons why I like it:

1)    It is naturally gluten, dairy and sugar free. Even while I was following a strict diet (for several years I was gluten, sugar, dairy-free) there was nothing I needed to substitute or change about this recipe. It is a great meal to share with people who are not on such a constraining diet, because all the original ingredients are there, and there is nothing “abnormal” about any of the ingredients. (Sometimes when cooking for a special diet you find yourself using ingredients like “cheese” made from pea-proteins and other bizarre concoctions that your average American isn’t familiar with!)

2)    It doesn’t take much time to cook, and you can basically just put all the vegetables you have sitting around in your refrigerator into the pot. Now that I live by myself, I find that I will try to cook smaller portions, and as a result I will often have really random amounts of things like eggplant, mushrooms, and zucchini. With this recipe I can repurpose these vegetables into something delicious without needing to go shopping.

3)    It’s super DELICIOUS! 😀

First, mix together some seasonings to make a spice paste.

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Then, chop up a bunch of veggies.

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Finally everything gets thrown into a pot and simmered into tasty goodness!

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애호박고추장찌개

aka Spicy Zucchini Hot Pot

2 T 고추장 (GoChuJang) or Korean red pepper paste

3 T miso

1 T minced garlic

1 T dark sesame oil

1 large or 4 very small potatoes, peeled and cubed

½ an onion, chopped

2.5 cups beef, chicken or vegetable stock

1 medium or 2 small zucchini, halved and sliced

½ lb firm tofu, cubed*

2 green onions, sliced

1)    Mix the pepper paste, miso and garlic until combined in a small bowl.

2)    In a large pot, add sesame oil and heat to medium.

3)    Add pepper paste mixture, potatoes and onion. Stir-fry for 2 minutes.

4)    Add the stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Once the stock boils, simmer on medium-low for 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

5)    Add the zucchini and tofu and cook until warmed through and tender.

6)    Add the green onions and dig in! (Best when served with rice)

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*The original recipe calls for ¼ lb boneless rib eye steak, sliced into thin strips. I choose to leave this out because I don’t buy or eat a lot of steak. However, the first time I made the recipe I left it in and it was delicious that way too! If you choose to add the steak, add it to the pot when you add the potatoes.

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