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 savory 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. Brunodesando Canada joined 11/18 & has 1 comment

    Hi there!

    Can I use seafood broth instead of making my own anchovy broth?


  2. qilqilqil Singapore joined 10/18 & has 1 comment

    Hi. May I know what kimchi brine is? Is it kimchi juice?

  3. AudreyA New York, New York joined 10/18 & has 3 comments

    Hi Maangchi, I just tried this recipe for the first time, and even though I had to make some substitutions since I didn’t have all the ingredients, it was so delicious! This is my favorite korean dish and I never realized how easy it could be! I won’t ever have to go out to a restaurant now :D (I actually meant to take a picture, but I couldn’t hold myself back and I just ate it right away hahaha)

  4. Grace P China joined 10/18 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi
    My Korean husband has asked me to register in order to thank you for this recipe. We have been married for 22 years and I have cooked Kimchi Jigae many many times following different recipes, but this has by far been the best! We really enjoy it a lot.
    Your blog is fantastic ! Thanks so much.

  5. brauwin Phoenix, AZ joined 1/10 & has 2 comments

    Wondering if anyone can help me out. I recently was in Busan and the lady brought out kimchi jjigae with my ssamgypsal. She warned me though that it would be very different from the “Northern” style kimchi jjigae I was used to. She was right, it tasted like there was fermented soybean paste in it and not much kimchi. Can anyone help me find a name of the style or a recipe?

  6. Cardell Denmark joined 7/18 & has 1 comment

    Made kimchi jjigae with a mix of yours and my mother in laws recipe. My boyfriend (Korean) and mother in law told Me that it was better than the ones you get in Korea (restaurant). Probably the biggest compliment I could get, cause I know how good it can taste.. thank you for your genius cooking!

  7. CalifornianInBarcelona Barcelona, Spain joined 10/16 & has 6 comments

    I made using the Poggi Kimchi recipe you gave us.. let it age for 2 months. I made the broth with Kelp, Dried Anchovies (Thai, not Korean.. only thing available in Barcelona), and I added onion and garclic… I also added mushrooms at the last stage along with the tofu

    This is the second time I have made it and I waited until the last five minutes to add the red pepper paste and red chili peppers … and adding salt as needed

    The first time I made this it, it turned out too salty…

    This time,

    It was DELICIOUS

    Thank you!

  8. Sylvia_l Qatar joined 6/18 & has 1 comment

    Thank you very much for this recipe. I used the kimchi recipe (which was a great success) also on your website. Wanting to use it differently I prepared this recipe. It was quick and easy to prepare, something I’ll definitely make for many years to come!

  9. Ari Cambodia joined 6/18 & has 1 comment

    hi Maangchi, i’m making this for my family tomorrow..and there will be like 10 i’m not sure whether i should double your ingredient or is there anything else i could do? i’m a 17yo that is new to cooking but i have tried several of your receipes and everyone in the family loves you, Maangchi! <3

  10. Fraise Indonesia joined 2/18 & has 2 comments

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

  11. BananaCookies Singapore joined 1/18 & has 1 comment

    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

  12. JjigaeWhat Los Angeles joined 12/17 & has 1 comment

    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?

  13. janavis India joined 12/17 & has 1 comment

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

  14. Galaxy_Unnie00 Kansas, USA joined 11/16 & has 2 comments

    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 joined 8/14 & has 279 comments

      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.

  15. Dhalgren Truth or Consequences, NM joined 11/17 & has 3 comments

    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!

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