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. hello, i’d like to try this stew — if im a vegetarian and do not eat meat, can i just skip the pork belly? or do you recommend substituting with more veggies?

  2. leahangel Seattle, WA USA joined 9/10 & has 24 comments

    Oooh yum yummy! That kimchi stew looks sooooo good :D

    Hey did you ever figure out what the pickle your friend made was from?
    I think it may be a vegetable called Chayote in Spanish. Looks like this

    Thanks as always for sharing your wonderful recipes!!

  3. Darla Greensboro, NC joined 8/10 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi! Thank you so much for all of your wonderful recipes and videos.
    I have a question about the kimchi stew. How can I reduce the recipe for a single serving?

  4. soybox joined 8/10 & has 3 comments

    Hi, great site!

    If I don’t have access to pork belly and I want to use beef…what kind of beef would be good for kimchi jigae?

    • I use shoulder or any cut good for roasting–same goes for pork. You also can sub in bacon or back bacon for pork belly. My tips is to marinate the meat–any kind you chose–in oil, garlic, onions, touch of rice/white vinegar, & tsp of dried stock(da-shi-da a Korean beef stock) till meat is warm or at least 1/2 hour. Then brown first and go about the recipe.

      Remember this is a stew — so vary to what you like. My son love zucchini so in it goes. I like mu radish (Korean radish that’s stronger than daikon but less than say a rutabaga–for sweetness) so in it goes. A little mu radish is normally in the Kimchi but I like more.

      Good luck & enjoy.

      stock brand:

  5. happyj-girl Colorado Springs, CO joined 8/10 & has 2 comments

    Your soybean sprout side dish recipe is EXCELLENT! By far the best!! I did sauté the garlic before adding (which I also did for the spinach side dish), and also added red pepper flakes for some kick. WOW! It was awesome!! These will be new additions to our meals which we will use quite often. You’re the best!!

  6. 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?

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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 12,047 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.

  10. 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?

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. 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 ~

  14. 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!

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

    Hi Maangchi!

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

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