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.

Ingredients

(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 kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons gochugaru (Korean hot pepper flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang (hot pepper paste)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 cups of anchovy stock (or chicken or beef broth)

For stock (makes about 2½ cups’ worth):

Directions:

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)

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So far this is rated 5/5 from 64686 votes

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329 Comments:

  1. KimLewinRei New Zealand joined 4/22 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi!
    I made your kimchi recipe and then this stew about 2 weeks later for my family and we all devoured it – it is so delicious!
    We also had fresh spring onions in our garden which was great… hopefully in a few months time, I can make this entire recipe from produce grown in our garden
    Thank you for sharing such great recipes.

  2. aaronH Warsaw, IN joined 12/21 & has 1 comment

    My daughter and I enjoyed making this for supper tonight. We then enjoyed it with my wife. This was everything I hoped it would be. Thank you so much for creating this recipe!

  3. JonB California joined 12/21 & has 3 comments

    I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a recipe on the Internet with a 5/5 rating and over 65,000 votes, but here’s one more 5 from me. This stuff is terrific. It’s the perfect dinner for a cold night (or what passes for a cold night in California). I followed the recipe closely; I did bump up the umami by adding a slug of shio koji to the stock, but it would have been just fine without it. I really wouldn’t change a thing. I did use store-bought kimchi; if I used homemade, which tends to run a little spicier, I might cut back on the gochugaru a bit, but the quantities here are perfect for the commercial stuff.

    • JonB California joined 12/21 & has 3 comments

      By the way, I just popped in to refresh my memory about how the recipe goes, and I noticed that it says “serves 2 with side dishes, serves 4 without.” Unless there’s a Korean tradition of serving double portions of stew when it’s accompanied by side dishes, I’m thinking that might be backward. ;)

  4. Castrolane California joined 11/21 & has 1 comment

    Wow! I followed the instructions exactly and turned out a deep rich stew. I couldn’t be happier with the results. Thank you so much for sharing this with us all. Also, I’ve made a new friend at my local Korean Market. She was so thrilled I was attempting a new type of cuisine at home. Looking forward to discovering other recipes here. Bon Appetite!

  5. Aussie Australia joined 8/21 & has 1 comment

    Hi
    I’d like start experimenting with Kimchi and this looks like a good recipe -thanks. However I don’t eat Pork. What could I use instead? Also what would be a regular equivalent for the korean pepper flakes and paste?
    Many thanks :-)

    • 3bodyproblem Arizona joined 8/21 & has 1 comment

      You can double the tofu and not use the pork. A lot of broth flavor comes from the anchovies and the sea weed.

      You could sub regular hot pepper flakes for the Korean ones, but you will need the gochujang for the recipe. I wouldn’t substitute that.

    • badbetty Washington State joined 1/22 & has 1 comment

      Chamchi Kimchi jjigae is popular in my home as well. Chamchi = Tuna. Add some canned tuna. Mackerel and even canned sardines, I’ve seen. You can def keep it just tofu, too. Or add some kind of meaty mushroom. So many options.

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