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. Keewuh joined 7/10 & has 1 comment

    My 김치 찌개 turned out okay, but it wasn’t spicy enough… Any ideas about what I did wrong?

  2. Help!! I don’t have gochujang and i can’t buy any because i cant drive so can i make kimchi chigae without gochujang?

  3. ejs4y8 joined 6/10 & has 1 comment

    I LOVE this kongnamool recipe. Delicious. I’ve accidentally overboiled them before (which ruins the dish) but if I don’t do that, they are perfect. Yum.

  4. Odna Rio de Janeiro, Brazil joined 5/10 & has 3 comments

    Hi, Maangchi!
    We are planning on making this recipe this Sunday to watch the World Cup game. Pork belly is not easy to be found here, but we still want to use meat. What others cuts of pork you recommend? Or what cuts of beef would be fine?

    Thank you!! ^_^

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      haha, Eating kimchi stew and rice during world cup game watch sounds good to me! Be sure not to drip the kimchi stew juice everywhere!

      Pork belly is not available? Then use blade shoulder part.
      Check this link. : )

      • Odna Rio de Janeiro, Brazil joined 5/10 & has 3 comments

        Hi, Maangchi! Thank you so much! We actually found the pork belly, it’s not as unusual as I thought and rather cheap. Brazilians use pork belly for a variety of meals such as feijoada. I didn’t know that, learned it by making Kimchi stew. How crazy is the world, huh?

        It was a huge success and Brazil won the game! It’s the lucky stew. And we used the kimchi we made a month ago following your recipe. I’d like to send you the pictures of our stew, how do I do it?

        Thanks again! ^_^

      • Brian_Montoya Colorado Springs,Colorado joined 12/09 & has 14 comments

        Actually if you can get pork belly, you can just use boneless pork chops, i think its just as tasty i just cut them into strips, fry in a mix of sesame oil and vegtable oil (so the sesame oil doesnt burn) add the garlic half way through, cook till the pork is almost done, then add the gochujang then the kimchi and liquid.

  5. hellokitty08 joined 5/10 & has 35 comments

    I just wanted to know why you added sesame oil in the end when you had already put in the pork belly?

  6. hellokitty08 joined 5/10 & has 35 comments

    Hi Maangchi! I love your cooking site! Thank you so much for the different recipes! I just have a question. I’ve made the kimchi jigae by stir frying the pork and kimchi first and also by just putting all the ingredients in the pot and submerge it with water. For some reason both recipes taste different. Your way seems much easier but the kimchi jigae didn’t have much flavor in it no matter how much red pepper paste I put. When I stir fry it before putting the water, I seem to get more flavor. My grandma used to make kimchi jigae the same way you make it and it comes out so good! I want to use your method but how can I fix this to have a more stronger taste? I can’t seem to get it right no matter what I do!

  7. sukisas75 Dayton, Ohio joined 5/10 & has 2 comments

    Great recipe Maangchi!! For those people who don’t eat pork (like myself) I substitute beef stew meat for the pork. A little different flavor but still very good!

  8. KKVL Belfast, joined 4/10 & has 15 comments

    hie maangchi!

    i made kimchi chigae turned out awesome ^^ ..already posted a pic of it in the pool in flickr ..

    tried out kong ma mol last week, and it turned out really delicous as well..also posted a pic on flickr =)

    thanks for the amazing recipes ~

  9. i made this one night and it was a lot better than another recipe i’ve tried, which was very similar in terms of ingredients but required only 5 minutes of cooking time in a traditional clay pot over high heat. I think the kimchi juice made all the difference.

    do you, by any chance, have a recipe for kalbi jim? i had it once in a restaurant and it was really good! by the way, some of my korean ESL students have some sort of miso soup for breakfast. is that similar to the dwenjang stew?

    thanks for the recipes!

  10. b.campos Seattle joined 2/10 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi!

    I just tried your recipe and it was so delicious! Thank you :)

  11. Sylvia joined 9/08 & has 78 comments

    Yay, all of our children are back at school so now I can cook kim-chi ghigae for lunch. I have it boiling right now.

  12. Hi ^^
    I followed this recipe and made the kimchi strew for my 아빠.
    It is his favorite strew,so I made it for him.
    And it is my first time cooking something for him.
    And it turned out great.
    Here is the picture of it.

  13. I used to go to a restaurant on Yonge st. near Bloor in Toronto just to have kimchi and Kimchi Chigae. Now, thanks to you I can make my own! This website is fantastic and insightful. Thank you for taking the time to show us all how to make great Korean cuisine. All the best.

  14. What do you do to stews to make it a little thicker? When I tried a stew recipe it tasted a little diluted.

    • Try putting in some more kimchi juice. That usually makes it thicker. Also, I usually cook my kimchi stew with a can of Korean tuna – it is very chunky compared to watery american tuna. That usually makes it taste thicker than if you cook it with pork belly.

  15. Joyce Chew& has 2 comments


    Thanks for sharing my favourite Korean dishes. I will try it but first must make a trip to the Korean supermarket.

    Love from Singapore.

  16. missmanderley& has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi… I came across your website when it was mentioned at Soompi Forums (the largest Korean Entertainment Forums in English) and was just sooo happy!

    I’ve been slowly learning how to make Korean food and your website (and youtube) is such a delight. I have it bookmarked, and linked at my K-Ent site (

    Anyways, this might sound silly but I was thrilled that I came across your recipe for kongnamool! Its my favorite banchan at this korean bbq I frequent, and I never really knew what this dish was called until I found it in your site.

    Thank you thank you sooo much!

  17. 안영하세요 Maangchi! Big fan of your site, I’m looking to make the 김치씨개 this Tuesday and had a couple of questions.

    1. Would it be possible to sub Pork tenderloin for the pork belly? I can’t go shopping and have pork tenderloin and tuna right now, but I would prefer to have pork in it.

    2. Do you recommend trying to refrigerate leftovers? Will the 씨개 taste weird if refrigerated?

  18. I made kimchi jjigae tonight! I found it quite good, even if I didn’t have some ingredients handy and didn’t feel like running to the store (I didn’t have tofu ready, and I replaced pork belly for pork chops I had in the freezer). It still turned out delicious though, and I am going to make this way more often since I can buy all the ingredients at my local stores and it’s extremely easy and convenient! thank you so much!

  19. What if i wanted vegetarian kimchi stew? what could i use instead?

  20. Hi Maangchi! I was wondering could i replace the hot pepper paste for something else? Such as chili paste, or more hot pepper flakes? Is the paste a must? Will the taste of the kimchi stew turn bad?

  21. Hi Maangchi, how many servings does the recipe for kimchi chigae serves? If I half the recipe, do I have to half the cooking time too?

    Also, for kongnamul muchim, 500gm is a lot to eat in one meal so can I make a full recipe and store the remainder in the fridge? If so, how long would it last?

  22. Hey MaangChi!!
    I tried your Kimchi-Chigae and it was GREAT!! I even cooked it for my friend’s birthday last week. And the girls enjoyed it :D
    I’m going to try more of your recipes too!

    Many loves from Singapore

  23. Hello!

    The pickled vegetable is called chayote. It is really good. I love it! Please find out how to make it and let everyone know . Thank you!

  24. The vegetable that looks like two fists together is called chayote in Spanish. It is common in Spanish and Caribbean markets.

  25. bayartsogt& has 1 comment

    Hi nice to meet you maangchi.I very like this site.I m not very vell speak english.I am from mongolia.I think so we can make korean restaurent in mongolia.whats your phone number i must call you.Please @ for regards

  26. I like to add canned makerel in my soup hehe.

  27. Geneys& has 3 comments

    Hello Maangchi,

    I have been trying to find a good cutting board. Where can I find a cutting board like yours in this video?


    Geneys :o)

  28. Hi Maangchi! Thanks so much for your wonderful site.

    Every time I make kimchi jjigae the taste is pretty good, but the soup part doesn’t have the tangy taste that I really like. I use pre-made “mat kimchi” and was wondering if I should be using a different kind?

    Thanks! :)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      oh, mat kimchi is a brand name of kimchi? To make delicious kimchi jjigae, the kimchi should be fully fermented and sour. So You will have to check if the kimchi you bought is fully fermented or not. If not, put the kimchi at room temperature for a couple of days until its taste is sour, then keep it in the refrigerator. Your kiimchi jjigae will be delicious.

      I would like to encourage you to make your own kimchi sometime! : )

  29. Hi Maangchi!

    Love your recipes! They aren’t complicated at all, and your ‘ingredients’ page makes it easier to find what I need without much trouble!

    Just wondering, with the beansprout sidedish, are the beansprouts meant to end up very limp? I couldn’t find soy bean sprout, so I just the ordinary beansprouts, but they turned out limp and well, just limp! Do the type of beansprouts matter?

  30. Hi Maangchi!

    I wonder, will this turn out ok if I make it using kkaktugi? Anything I should change about the recipe to make it?

    Thanks so much for your videos. Some of the best cooking videos on the web! :-)

  31. It looks really delicious. I’m a culinary student and I love Korean food. I have a question though. I thought that you are supposed to stir fry the pork and kimchi together before you add water in order to bring out more flavor. My Korean friends taught me that way. Your recipe, however, puts everything together at the same time. I was wondering which way is more common or correct way to do it.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      You are studying culinary art! That’s cool!
      I like the simple method of making kimchi jjigae. The taste is same for me and time saving. I learned the method from a Korean restaurant when I lived in Seoul Korea. They only served their specialty kimchi jjigae. I saw they put all ingredients in a pot and cook on the table. The taste was so delicious!! Since that time, I’ve been using this method. Thank you for mentioning this because you give me chance to talk about the popular restaurant.

  32. Jennifer& has 20 comments


    I tried to make kimchi chigea It was too much water it seemed? I have left over kimchi that I want to use it but how much water did you have in the video to put in the stew?

  33. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    The capital of Canada! I know! : )
    I got back from my travel today and the first thing I cooked is kimchi chigae with a can of tuna. So delicious!

  34. Michaël& has 4 comments

    Hi Maangchi!

    I’m from Ottawa, the capital of Canada. I love your website, your videos and your recipes!

    Yesterday evening, I just made a real Korean dinner for the first time. I bought a huge jar of cabbage kimchi and made kimchi chigae with pork. I had invited my best friend over to eat it with me. It was very good! Even better than the one I have in Korean restaurants downtown.

    Keep rockin’!

    Mic xoxox

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