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

  2. 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)

  3. 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 12,047 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! : )

  4. 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?

  5. 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! :-)

  6. 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 12,047 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.

  7. 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?

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

  9. 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

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

    Happy New Year!
    It seems like Korean dramas are popular everywhere! : )
    I would like to visit Burma someday.

  11. Hi Maangchi!

    This is my very first time to your fantastic site!
    I’m from Burma and I started to like Korean dishes by seeing Korean movies! and i really enjoyed to have Korean Traditional Kim chi !
    In our country , there are only a few local shops selling Kim Chi.I wonder how nice if i can enjoy the true taste of Korean Kim Chi.

    I really like this Kim Chi stew and your recipe is so easy to try this one ourselves!
    Thanks for your time and hope i can try your every recipe!

    Have a good day!

    I love Korea!!

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

    Yes, some people add sliced rice cake or noodles to kimchi jjigae(stew).

  13. Hi,
    Your video is great! I have eaten a sop that I think is very similar to this in a Korean restaurant, but it had round rice cakes in it. Is that a totally different soup or is it a variation? I really liked the way the rice cakes tasted and would like to try adding them to this recipe if you think that would work.

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

    Mandy from Singapore
    yeah, kimchi stew is very easy to make if you have fermented kimchi. I hope your mandu was tasty, too.
    Thank you~!

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