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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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?

  8. 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!

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

  10. 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?

  11. 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?

  12. 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

  13. 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!

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

  15. 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

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