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. cynnthea USA joined 5/16 & has 1 comment

    The Directions mention onion in step 1 add pork and onion and I can see onion in the pictures but onion is not in the ingredient list. Thank you. Also many recipes call for garlic or garlic and ginger but I do not see these either??

  2. orsikocs London joined 4/16 & has 2 comments


  3. sillysometimes San Francisco Bay Area joined 3/16 & has 1 comment

    My mother’s kimchi-jjigae is more delicious. But, oddly enough, both my parents really love the jjigae I made using your recipe! I made it yesterday and it’s all gone. I didn’t even get a second serving. Thank you for sharing this recipe – since I can’t make it like my mother, (I have no idea what she does) I’ll be using your recipe again and again.

  4. Mary_123 Austria joined 3/16 & has 1 comment

    I made too much stew. How long can i keep them in the fridge?
    Thank you!

  5. Dear Maangchi ! I made Kimchi stew yesterday , and I loved it ! I am gonna cook it again , this time I’m going to mix this food with my persian taste !
    I’m going to roast a tbsp of tomato paste , and add it to my kimchi stew !!

    Thanks !

  6. OklahomaKimChiLover Oklahoma, USA joined 2/14 & has 2 comments

    I made this for lunch today… WONDERFUL! I didn’t have any dried anchovy or kelp, so I used Wakame and Dashi powder for the stock, and it turned out tasting just as good.

  7. Crez25 Philippines joined 2/16 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi! Am a big fan. I started to try your different recipes. Here’s my stint of Kimchi-jjigae. My family loved it :) Hope you could visit the Philippines again.

    See full size image

  8. logam11 joined 12/15 & has 3 comments

    Maangchi, do you add four pieces of 5 inch length kelp or one piece of 4″x5″ dimensions? The writing made me think the latter, but I think I see several pieces of kelp in your video… Thanks!

  9. ClumsySquirrel Seattle, WA joined 11/15 & has 4 comments

    Made this for the first time today for my lunch! With steamed rice, Cheonggyeongchae doenjang-muchim, and blueberry green tea! Everything is so yummy!

    See full size image

  10. Celi joined 1/16 & has 1 comment

    Hello! I just wanted to say that I have fallen in love with your recipe the first time I took a bite out of it but I need your help.
    I am thinking of making this stew but for 10 people.
    How much should I increase each each ingredient if I want to make it for 10 people?
    Thanks ^^

  11. I have a severe shellfish allergy. I’ve made kimchi before without shrimp but would like to try yours. Is there something I can use as a substitute or omit it completely?

  12. First attempt – used fish stock and an extra tablespoon of gochujang. I love how quick and easy this was to make.

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  13. THANK YOU SO MUCH MAANGCHI! I love Korean food, but the closest korean restaurant is two hours away :-( But with your recipes I can bring Korea home. My husband and two year old daughter loves it!

    I did the Kimchi Jjigae last night and it was so good I had seconds! Only thing is next time I will try with older kimchi, for a stronger taste. And with fried tofu, yum. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

    Merry Christmas!

    See full size image

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

      Thank you for sharing your kimchi jjigae photo! The arrangement in the pan looks like mine! Cute~ : ) I’m glad your family loved it. Your 2 year old baby will always love kimchi stew just like a Korean baby. lol

  14. Mching joined 12/15 & has 1 comment

    Maangchi! I’m in love with your recipes:) I made your kkakdugi and my family loved it! I’m a 15 year old Chinese girl(living in the u.s.) who loves Korean food.
    I was wondering, since I don’t have gochujang, would it taste okay without it or would I need it? Thank you!

  15. Karu joined 11/15 & has 1 comment

    Maangchi~ Thank you so much for the updated version of your recipe!
    I made it last week and my house smelled soooo good!
    Instead of the pork belly or shoulder, I used some leftover tenderloin and cut it against the grain, it tasted like beef!

    See full size image

    • Try pulled pork roast or well cooked pork neck bone meat also. Add it to a bowl just before serving so it does not completely fall apart during cooking the stew. The stock from neck bones is also wonderful in kimchi jjigae.

      I use pork loin a lot for stews but its a little light on fat. The neck bone stock helps add back a little of the fat but not too much..

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