This is my desperate attempt at making something from the frozen block of yellowfin tuna I keep in the freezer for when I need an emergency sashimi/sushi fix. Recently the weather has been extremely cold and snowy so we were not able to get anything good for our usual celebration of the weekend. We had a little bit of salmon roe and boiled octopus leg. I thawed the block of yellowfin tuna to round out the plate. I made half into “zuke” and half into this starter. For a change I served the tuna as is (two slices) and also as poke with store bought kimchi.
Again, breaking our routine, we went for hot sake which was just more comforting in this frigid weather. We were getting low on Gekkeikan Black and Gold since we have been consuming hot sake much more often than before this winter.
One of the reasons I made this dish using kimchi is that I happened to learn that my wife has never eaten kimchi. Although kimchi is the national dish of Korea, it is very popular in Japan as well. My mother used to make a Japanese-style; much milder kimchi (Japanese used to call it Korean pickles or chousen-zuke 朝鮮ずけ. Now it is simply called kimchi). I bought commercial kimchi in a jar for my wife to taste. I chose “mild” since it is easy to make it hot by adding a hot sauce but it is not easy to make it mild. Since it is still fermenting, the lid of the jar was bulging (My wife immediately concluded the contents must have gone bad. She had been drilled since childhood that a bulging can is a dangerous can and in the words of her mother “When in doubt throw it out”). Then she saw the disclaimer on the lid to the effect that if it was bulging that was OK. That is how it is with foods like kimchi and (even worse) Surströmming,…since in a sense the food inside is still rotting/fermenting. (For the record, I have never come near this Swedish delicacy, let alone tasted it. I am more than willing to defer to the description by others concerning the smell and taste of this product).
Obviously this is not based on a recipe. I diced the tuna into small cubes. I chopped up the kimchi and mixed it in. I also added finely chopped scallion and seasoned it with sesame oil and soy sauce.
Kimchi is sour, garlicky and spicy (this one was mild) which added some to this otherwise poor tuna. This is nothing I can boast about but for the purpose of consuming warm sake, it did its job.