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 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):


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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  1. In your video, you had a pickled vegetable that your friend made. The name of that vegetable is called chayote. It looks like a cute inverted green apple or something. :-)

  2. Hi Maangchi! I made some kimchi but I made it so salty so I am going to make kimchi chigae instead. I wish I can come cook and eat with you too in Toronto! I love your cooking shows; I hope to see more and more new recipes. Thank you Maangchi.

  3. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    brian and anne.h,
    Both of you made this dish to fit your taste or situation. As long as it turned out delicious, there will be no problem! Congratuation on your successful kimchi stew!

  4. Dear Maanchi, I just made this with the things I had at home. I subsituted a full onion for the pork belly, because I didn’t have any meat, just tofu. I also didn’t have hot pepper flakes, so I used paprika instead. It turned out pretty well! I will post photos on my flickr account soon. Thanks again for all the great recipes, I will keep trying new ones.

  5. Maangchi,

    Just made this dish and it came out yummy! I used a piece of unsliced Hungarian bacon as pork belly wasn’t handy. It gave a nice, very light smokey flavor. Also, I didn’t have any red pepper paste. I live in Baku, Azerbaijan so there are essentially no Korean markets available with the sort of thing. Might you post a recipe for the red pepper paste ? I saw in this page that it was commonly made at home until about mid 1970’s.

    I got the idea to use bacon because a new Korean restaurant just opened in town. They served kimchi chigae with sausage and salami and it was quite nice athough I suppose this is Budae Chigae and not proper Kimchi Chigae.

  6. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    Hot pepper paste has its own strong flavor, so it’s used for some certain dishes. I never use
    hot pepper paste for “Soon du bu jjigae”. But if I see someone else makes soon du bu jjigae using hot pepper paste, I may think it’s interesting. That’s her or his choice, isn’t it?

    When I make some seafood stew or vegetable stew, I sometimes use hot pepper paste.


  7. Hello Maangchi,

    so I’ve been watching your videos for a while and thank you very much! but I have a question about making korean soup. It seems like sometimes you don’t use hot pepper paste (gochujang) but some other times you use it. and I think you said that we shouldn’t use gochujang in soft tofu stew. is there a general rule on what kind of soup requires gochujang and what kind of soup doesn’t?

    thank you!!

  8. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    ok, more banchan(side dishes),
    Your beansprouts look delicious!

  9. Maangchi,
    I made Kong Na Mool Ban Chan.
    I used it for bi bim bab.

    Cannot wait for more and more Ban Chan from you~

    Thanks Maangchi for being so nice to your viewers.

  10. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    Happy birthday! Thank you for linking my blog. I checked it out.

    You are mentioning “Kimjaang”? Are u a korean? I used to make kimchang(a lot of kimchi for winter) 100 heads of cabbages long time ago, but not anymore. : )

    Have a nice day!

  11. Hi Maangchi! I just wanted to direct you to my blog where I just linked to your blog. I made Kimchi today with some friend since it is kimjang season. Soon my friend and I are going to make kimchi by ourselves! Thanks for your vids!

  12. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    For deborah,
    Hey, thank you for coming! It was absolutely fun. Did you hear your giggling when I said, “good job!” while you were cutting something in the video? I was laughing while editing. Very cute! : )

    For anonymous,
    I’m anouncing that Deborah has already her own fan now!
    By the way, are you requesting Jjajang? I did alreay. check it out please. Thanks,

    for james,
    Thank you very much for the information. I know what you mean.
    I will keep your advice in mind. It’s very useful. I was going to label each word, but it doesn’t seem to work.

    As you see, on the left side of my blog, all korean dishes I made is in the list. So I like my blog readers to find out their favorite recipe easily by clicking the name of dish.

    Thank you very much!

  13. maangchi, this comment is more about the blog than cooking. the Labels: have to be short words separated by commas. They serve as keywords to categorize similar entries as opposed to titling particular posts. (I hope that made sense.) This makes related blog entries easier to find. For example, a kimchi chigae video would have the labels: kimchi, stew, tofu, soybeans, sprout.

  14. debbie you’re a STAR!! great cooking vid… now i’m hungry! how bout a vid on jajang?

  15. Deborah Toronto, ON joined 4/09 & has 47 comments

    thank you again for inviting me over to your home to teach me how to make kimchi chigae and kong na mool!

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