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. wndrmom Philippines joined 1/21 & has 1 comment

    Hi I want to ask if kimchi gets spoiled? Thanks

  2. JRTHiker Seattle, WA joined 4/18 & has 3 comments

    My neighbor brought me some VERY old kimchi that was in her fridge for a long time. I made 2 batches of bindaetteok (one of my favorite Maangchi recipes!) and thought hey, I need to finally take the plunge and do 김치찌개. I made the broth from a high quality stock bag a Korean friend brought me, but supplemented with some more anchovies and kombu. Used pork belly (the other half of the belly went into the bindaetteok, ground up to a paste in the food processor…50/50 fat/lean made the best pancakes!) I also used some very special gochugaru hand made from a friend, more of a fruity flavor. Thank you Maangchi, this came out spectacularly well! Even my dog was pacing the kitchen loving the smell :)

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  3. Sporifix Houston TX joined 4/20 & has 5 comments

    This is easy to make and really satisfying. I found some Korean stock teabags that make the stock part of it a little more convenient.

  4. Cat Z Melbourne, Australia joined 5/20 & has 1 comment

    i’ve always loved Korean food but have always hesitated cooking it due to the complexity and varied ingredients that weren’t staples in my pantry.

    HOWEVER, with restaurants closed and unable to access delicious, soul warming stews right now (covid) i looked for recipes online and came across this.

    Just finished enjoying my stew and i am so surprised at how easy it was, and how delicious it turned out. i pre made the stock yesterday so all i had to do was assembly today. With 2 kids and a full time job, i will definitely add this to my repetoir! maybe not for the kids … hehe

    i added enoki mushroom and some fresh chinese cabbage bc they were in my fridge. and for my stock, i bought japanese kelp and anchovies and used chinese white raddish. with the left overs, i’ll add in some teokbokki and maybe a cake of ramen.. mmmmmm

    thank you for the recipe! i will be trying more of them

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  5. XXanimeseekerXX North Carolina joined 6/18 & has 5 comments

    I made this tonight for supper and it was wonderful! I may have had to use some chicken broth and chicken in replace of the pork and anchovy stock and it was so yummy. I had some rice and black beans(both your recipe) with it, I would absolutely make this again. My dad and I loved it, thank you for the recipes!

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  6. Alujin Washington joined 4/20 & has 2 comments

    Made this recipe twice for my family and both times were a success! Thank you for sharing your amazing foods!!

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  7. ChineseFoodie Watertown, MA - USA joined 5/20 & has 1 comment

    I’ve been a fan for almost 10 years! Thanks. So, I made this recipe twice now. First time, I didn’t like the sugary taste, so this second time, two years later (!) during this quarantine, I made it a second time without the sugar. Still I feel like something is missing, like it’s not sour enough? What do you suggest?

  8. johnnydiablo Boston joined 3/20 & has 1 comment

    Fantastic Recipe! So far, I have made the spicy pork stew, the kimchi-jjigae, and tteokbokki..All have been great. Really enjoy your recipes.. Reminds me of my time in Seoul, and the restaurants close to my company location in Yeoksam. Missing gopchang.. right now.

    Question: I can enoki mushroom to the kimchi-jjigae as well, correct? I added to the spicy pork stew, and it was a nice filler for seconds.

  9. jenha Philippines joined 2/20 & has 1 comment

    Hi Madam,

    Thank you very much for this recipe! Here’s our kimchi jjigae. We cooked it for our colleagues in the university, and they enjoyed it so much!

    See full size image

  10. Anne17 Australia joined 12/19 & has 1 comment

    I used tofu, chicken and shrimp for my protein. I used shrimp shell and ancovies for the stock, the shrimp shell create heavier and richer soup. And I found it a bit bland when I add the tofu, so I add some soy sauce in it. Amazing, Thank you Maangchi

    • Nova_2011 Las Vegas, NV joined 1/20 & has 1 comment

      What size pan should this recipe be made in? My dolsot bowl is only 4 cups. I feel that this won’t be big enough and allow enough room for everything to be cooked properly?
      Instead of making it in a stone bowl could it be made in a neofalm low 2qt saucepan? I would prefer to make it in a dolsot but the largest I can find is only 4 to 6 cups

  11. EmilyJanice Jakarta, Indonesia joined 5/19 & has 1 comment

    The best recipe I’ve found online! I modified the ingredients a bit, substituting the anchovy stock with powdered Dashi stock (which is more accessible in my area because Korean stock anchovies are so expensive here) and frying the pork belly beforehand to remove the unpleasant porky odor. Thank you for the recipe, Maangchi! My family loved the jjigae so much!

  12. cosimaluise Germany joined 3/19 & has 6 comments

    Hello Maangchi, today I made kimchi jigae for the first time after I made Kimchi with your recipe :) I didn’t add any meat because I am vegetarian instead I used more vegetables. It was sooo delicious I really enjoyed eating it as well as making it. Thank you so much for all your recipes! I love cooking and thanks to you I can enjoy Korean dishes at home. <3

  13. trvekvltmaster The Netherlands joined 2/19 & has 2 comments

    Hey, i made it but can someone help me? I used 6 month old kimchi (homemade), and because of this it’s extremely sour. Is there a way to make it taste more mild?

  14. Kbobbio03 Orlando joined 1/19 & has 1 comment

    Wow! I liked this way more than I thought I would!!! I made your kimchi recipe about a month ago (half recipe) and still have about half left. I figured this would be a perfect recipe to use some up. I did use an “ultimate stock” recipe, but the heart of the recipe is yours. Thanks for such wonderful recipes.
    Side note, I’ve had an aversion to fish for a couple of decades. I used to eat fish as a child but several traumatic incidents has left me phobic. Because I watch your videos, I have been able to start eating dishes with fish sauce in them. Big step for me, all thanks to you!

  15. EdwinneJ Singapore joined 12/18 & has 1 comment

    Hi, I noticed that most of your stew recipes call for the same stock. Can I make it in advance to use over multiple days?

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