Kimchi stew

Kimchi-jjigae 김치찌개

Kimchi stew is one of the most-loved of all the stews in Korean cuisine. It’s a warm, hearty, spicy, savory, delicious dish that pretty much everyone loves. As long as they can handle spicy food, I never met a person who didn’t like kimchi-jjigae.

I learned this recipe from a restaurant famous for kimchi-jjigae in Korea. The restaurant was always full of people eating and sweating over kimchi stew.  There was only one item on the menu, so everyone was there for the same thing: a steaming pot of spicy kimchi-jjigae, a few side dishes, and a bowl of warm rice. Customers would call out: “Please give me another bowl of rice!”


What really made an impression on me at the time was the fact that they brought the stew out to the table uncooked, and then fired up a burner and cooked it at the table. This way we could sit and talk and watch it cook. I could get a good look at the ingredients: kimchi, onion, green onion, thinly sliced pork on top, and seasonings. There was some white granules (salt, sugar, and probably MSG) and also they used water at the broth base.

From this I developed my own recipe to make at home, which was very delicious.

My kimchi-jjigae recipe served me well for years and years and I even made a video of it in 2007. But since then I developed this version, which is even more delicious. The secret is in the umami-rich anchovy stock.

I hope you make it and enjoy it for years and years to come!

The difference between kimchi soup and kimchi stew

Kimchi stew is thicker than kimchi soup. Kimchi soup is less salty than kimchi stew.

Also, soup is always served in individual bowls, with rice. Traditionally in Korean cuisine stews were served in a big pot on the table, and the family would eat communally from the pot. These days, some people (including me) get a little freaked out by double-dipping, so for stews I put individual bowls on the table, and a large spoon so that diners can take what they like from the pot and put it in their bowls.


(serves 2 with side dishes, serves 4 without)

  • 1 pound kimchi, cut into bite size pieces
  • ¼ cup kimchi brine
  • ½ pound pork shoulder (or pork belly)
  • ½ package of tofu (optional), sliced into ½ inch thick bite size pieces
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 medium onion, sliced (1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons gochugaru (Korean hot pepper flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang (hot pepper paste)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 cups of anchovy stock (or chicken or beef broth)


For stock (makes about 2½ cups’ worth):


Make anchovy stock:

  1. Put the anchovies, daikon, green onion roots, and dried kelp in a sauce pan.Kimchi stew (kimchijjigae: 김치찌개)
  2. Add the water and boil for 20 minutes over medium high heat.
  3. Lower the heat to low for another 5 minutes.
  4. Strain.멸치국물 (anchovy stock)

Make kimchi stew:

  1. Place the kimchi and kimchi brine in a shallow pot. Add pork and onionKimchi stew (kimchijjigae: 김치찌개)
  2. Slice 2 green onions diagonally and add them to the pot.
  3. Add salt, sugar, hot pepper flakes, and hot pepper paste. Drizzle sesame oil over top and add the anchovy stock
    Kimchi stew (kimchijjigae: 김치찌개)Kimchi stew (kimchijjigae: 김치찌개)
  4. Cover and cook for 10 minutes over medium high heat.Kimchi stew (kimchijjigae: 김치찌개)
  5. Open and mix in the seasonings with a spoon. Lay the tofu over top.Kimchi stew (kimchijjigae: 김치찌개)Kimchi stew (kimchijjigae: 김치찌개)
  6. Cover and cook another 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat.
  7. Chop 1 green onion and put it on the top of the stew. Remove from the heat and serve right away with rice.Kimchi stew (kimchijjigae: 김치찌개)



  1. Fraise Indonesia 2 commentsjoined 2/18
    Posted February 7th, 2018 at 1:03 pm | # |

    Hi everybody, Can I substitute kelp with seaweed?
    Pls help somebody, because kelp itsnot available here thanks!

    • Maangchi New York City 11,163 commentsjoined 8/08
      Posted February 17th, 2018 at 2:43 pm | # |

      Kelp is a kind of seaweed. I assume you are asking if you can substitute miyeok? If so, no. Only dried kelp works for this, I use it to make a good stock.

  2. BananaCookies Singapore 1 commentjoined 1/18
    Posted January 8th, 2018 at 7:13 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi, I’ve tried this recipe today and I LOVE IT! I didn’t have any daikon so i omitted it out and substitute the pork with boneless chicken thigh. It was so delicious that my family and I gulped down the whole thing. And my gran, who’s someone that doesn’t like to try new things, gave 2 thumbs up for this. Thank you Maangchi!!

    See full size image

    • Maangchi New York City 11,163 commentsjoined 8/08
      Posted January 15th, 2018 at 10:11 pm | # |

      I’m glad you and your family enjoyed your kimchi-jjigae. Continued good luck with your Korean cooking!

  3. JjigaeWhat Los Angeles 1 commentjoined 12/17
    Posted December 28th, 2017 at 12:34 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi, I just tried out this recipe today and it was PERFECT! Really delicious. The only flaw is that there are no leftovers, we finished it all so fast. If I double the ingredients will that still keep the proportion of the recipe intact, or is there a better way to scale the servings of this dish up?

  4. janavis India 1 commentjoined 12/17
    Posted December 11th, 2017 at 3:27 am | # |

    wow, this looks delicious. quick question, can i somehow substitute pork for chicken? or will it change the flavor too much?

  5. Galaxy_Unnie00 Kansas, USA 1 commentjoined 11/16
    Posted December 9th, 2017 at 9:43 pm | # |

    I wanted to make this for my family but my boyfriend who will be joining us for this Christmas dinner is allergic to onions. Do you know a good way to substitute it?

    • sanne Munich 174 commentsjoined 8/14
      Posted December 11th, 2017 at 2:46 am | # |

      In that case, you would have to prepare a batch of kimchi without any onions (that includes garlic), too. And a different stock.
      Wouldn’t it be easier to prepare an entirely different extra dish for him instead?

      Bye, Sanne.

  6. Dhalgren Truth or Consequences, NM 3 commentsjoined 11/17
    Posted November 28th, 2017 at 8:54 am | # |

    Do you think this would come out ok if I used a homemade miso-ginger broth instead of anchovies? I don’t eat meat. It’d be easy to substitute the pork with pressed yam and tofu :) The pictures look so good!

    • jacque maurice 4 commentsjoined 5/15
      Posted December 30th, 2017 at 3:46 pm | # |

      I also am vegan. I just used a spasm of soy sauce and a little extra seaweed to the broth and instead of using pork I used jack fruit. It turns out delicious every time.

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