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Friday, January 31, 2020

Kimchi Jjigae | Always Be My Maybe #FoodnFlix

Kimchi Jjigae | Always Be My Maybe #FoodnFlix
I'm sliding in under the wire with my submission to the January 2020 (!) edition of Food 'n Flix, hosted by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla. Okay, I didn't make it in under the wire. That was a lie. That wire was a few paces in the past. I'm coming in last. But that's just because the new decade started with a bang! I gave you a little sneak peek of this month's movie pick back in July when I made a dish inspired by it (this Glazed Spam and Rice)...but I'm excited to be able to share another recipe inspired by the Netflix film Always Be My Maybe with you today!

Childhood best friends turned sweethearts Marcus and Sasha are neighbors growing up. Marcus comes from a pretty close-knit Korean family who spend a lot of time doing things together. Sasha and her (Vietnamese) family live next door. Unlike Marcus's family, she spends most of her time alone since her parents are busy running their store.

Like the Spam recipe I shared previously, the dish I'm sharing today is one shown and mentioned almost immediately in the film. We see Sasha at home eating a plate of Spam and rice that she prepared for herself and watching Clarissa Explains It All on tv when the doorbell rings. She opens it to a young Marcus asking her to come over to their house for dinner, and babbling about soup and the fact that he doesn't want to bring "thermos soup" to school tomorrow and sit with the only other people who will sit by him if he does (other kids with the thermos soup).

The whole Kim family is in the kitchen preparing dinner, and Mrs. Kim (aka Judy) is walking Sasha through the process of making Kimchi Jjigae. She tells her that she does such a good job and asks her if she's sure she's not Korean, which earns a huge smile. We see a montage of the kids growing up and spending lots of time together, while Sasha continues to cook with Judy.
Kimchi Jjigae | Always Be My Maybe #FoodnFlix
Without revealing too much, I'll tell you that Sasha and Marcus wind up in a fight that keeps them from seeing each other for a number of years. Also, Marcus's mom Judy passes away far too young. Adult Marcus works with his father's Heating and Air company and plays in his band. Adult Sasha is a chef who was greatly inspired by her time in the kitchen with Judy. There's a ton of food throughout the movie.

Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Keanu Reeves has a cameo in the film in which he plays an opposites-day version of himself...who is dating Sasha. It's pretty hilarious to watch.

Marcus and Sasha reconnect when she comes home to open a restaurant in San Francisco, and rents a house which Marcus and his dad come to do repairs on. It's rom-com at its finest. There's misunderstandings and kisses and dating other people and time apart...and finally the HEA.

**MAJOR SPOILER ALERT** They do wind up together. Because of course they do! And Sasha's new restaurant is small and cozy and features all of Marcus's mom's recipes, aka "the kind of food that makes people feel at home. The way your mom always made me feel."
Kimchi Jjigae quote from Always Be My Maybe
So back to that opening scene and food that makes you feel at home, today I made Kimchi Jiggae. And I snipped everything I could using kitchen shears, just like Judy (and according to her, all Koreans) did.

Food 'n Flix club logo
This month's edition of Food 'n Flix is being hosted by Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla with her choice of the Netflix movie, Always Be My Maybe; submissions are due January 29, 2020.

Join us next month when I'll be hosting right here on All Roads Lead to the Kitchen! We'll be heading into the kitchen to create recipes inspired by the film Nina's Heavenly Delights.

For inspiration, check out the Food 'n Flix website (click on any of the roundups listed to see what participants have been inspired to make by the movie choice), all of my past Food 'n Flix posts, or my Food 'n Flix Pinterest board!

Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)

Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)

Yield: 2
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 15 Mtotal time: 25 M
This simple Korean dish featuring aged kimchi, salmon (or pork belly), tofu, and vegetables was inspired by the Netflix film, Always Be My Maybe.


  • 4 ounces salmon, skinned and cut into 2 portions
  • 1 1/2 cups Kimchi, homemade or storebought, aged at least 3 weeks
  • 6 ounces extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 2 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Korean red chili paste (gochujang)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Korean red chili pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2" piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 scallions, cut into 1 1/2" pieces, on the bias


How to cook Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)

  1. Lay out the first 8 ingredients in a large, deep-sided skillet or pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper (you can adjust later if needed). Pour the water into the pot and gently move everything around to combine.
  2. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a gentle simmer; allow to cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and lift the lid. Scatter the scallions over the top of the stew, then replace lid and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Serve as-is, or with rice.


To substitute salmon with pork belly:
Cut skinned pork belly into small pieces. Sprinkle with a little mirin and cracked black pepper, then allow to sit for 15 minutes. Add to the pot with only the kimchi and a little of the water and cook gently for 15 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and proceed as directed.

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