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. MandySingapore& has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,

    Me & my friend are so hooked to your recipes. We’ve made kimchi using your recipe. And with the kimchi, i tried this kimchi stew. It is SO GOOD! Very easy to follow recipes!
    In fact, i’ve just made some mandu for dinner.

    Look forward to see more new recipes.

    Mandy from Singapore

  2. Hi Maangchi,

    I made kimchi a few days ago using your recipe (but with some Internet research, I decided to add water to the cabbage salting process so that it covers the cabbage completely – it works too) and it is amazing! After 2 days of fermenting, I ate my homemade kimchi with a bean sprout side dish and potato side dish (your recipes). Today, I made kimchi stew! Oh my god!!! I never realised how easy it is to make fabulous Korean dishes at home that I used to enjoy in Korean restaurants overseas. Best thing is, it’s minus the MSG which always gives me a headache.

    Just some background info, I’m Chinese-Singaporean currently travelling around the world with my husband and baby girl. We tour with Cirque du Soleil and I have eaten in Korean restaurants in New Zealand, Sydney, Melbourne. The worst ones I have eaten are from a takeaway place in a small town in Germany called Duisburg, and a fastfood style place in Vienna. So I am very very happy that I can learn from you and avoid the crappy ones! Thanks so much!!

    BTW, I completely agree that normal chili powder/flakes doesn’t make good kimchi. I’ve not tried this but I’ve eaten kimchi in the abovementioned fastfood style “restaurant” (it’s an Asian restaurant featuring Korean dishes) which I believe used Indian chili powder. Boy!!! Does it taste horrible and powdery….

    Anyway, just to say thanks again and hope to see more of your stuff up on the Net.

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

    oh, I’m very glad to hear that! Thank you for your comment.

  4. Hi maangchi^^
    am really thankful that there is someone like you making this blog and cooking video. It`s very easy to follow. I`m a filipina and my husband is korean so this is very helpful for me I often watch your video since I came here in korea 2 months ago and im cooking everything i see on your video^^ it`s fun and very helpful my husband loves it! everytime my husband say it`s delicious i will say maangchi!! with my both hands acting peace.. kinda fun my husband is laughing.

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

    Strange! I have no problem with watching the bibimbap video.

  6. Hi Maangchi, how are you? Can you please double check on the youtube site because i’ve discovered some problem that it wasn’t working when i tried to watch on how to make bibimbap.
    Thank you.

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

    Oh, really? Leeks and green onions have a similar flavor. Green onions are easy to buy at any grocery store. That’s why I use lots of green onions. Anyway, you can add leeks for the recipe needed green onions, too.

  8. Maangchi,
    I have a question, I remember when we lived in Korea, they used alot of leeks in preparing their dishes. I don’t see any recipes with leeks here or I just didn’t find?
    Thank you for your answer

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

    I like soft tofu, but it depends on your taste.

  10. just want to ask.. what sort of tofu do u recommend for this? firm? soft? not too hard not too soft?

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

    Of course, I sometimes use beef or a can of tuna in kimchi chigae. Oh, chunggukjang (cheonggukjang), sure, I will include it in the list of my upcoming cooking videos. It’s smelly, but delicious. : ) Thank you!

  12. anonymous& has 6 comments

    Great recipe Maangchi! Have you ever used beef in kimchi chigae? Just curious whether or not it would work. And do you ever make cheonggukjang chigae? Wondering if you have a recipe for that. Thanks for doing what you do.

  13. Hi maangchi, just to let you know that i made kimchi chigae using my home-made kimchi (following your recipe) with myulchi bokkeum for dinner with friends. they all loved the korean meal and finished everything! :) i forgot to take photos of the dishes; i’ll do it the next time I cook the dishes and post them on my blog. I’ve posted the kimchi and kaktugi that i made on my blog too:) thanks maangchi!

  14. omg thank you maangchi!!! i bought all of the ingredients yesterday ( thank you for the pictures of the peper flakes/paste) and i cooked it today. wow was it heaven!!! it came out perfect thank you sooo much! ^__^ my mom felt proud of me.

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

    Thank you for letting me know what it is. Very nice. actually someone else taught me long time ago.

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