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!”

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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.

Ingredients

(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 salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons gochugaru (Korean hot pepper flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang (hot pepper paste)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 cups of anchovy stock (or chicken or beef broth)

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For stock (makes about 2½ cups’ worth):

Directions:

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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301 Comments:

  1. chawisssse Manila joined 1/14 & has 4 comments

    thats CHAYOTE!!! We have a lot of that here in the Philippines – we eat them stir fried with rice – mmm so good. We pronounce it as “sa-YO-teh”

  2. ddnorman Southern NH, USA joined 9/13 & has 75 comments

    Hi Maangchi! I made this kimchijjigae after work one night and it was so easy and delicious! My wife who is an awesome cook usually handles the dinner, so I am spoiled and not a good cook ^^. I think using your excellent hommade kimchi recipe as the base is what makes it so good! Between this and the kimchijeon, I will have to start making kimchi at least once a month!
    감사합니다!
    Dave

  3. ericlala usa joined 10/13 & has 1 comment

    Hello Maangchi,

    can i store unfinished portions in the fridge? if so how long can i keep it for?

    also, can i use sliced pork belly? will that reduce the cooking time?

  4. Ellielen Oslo, Norway joined 9/13 & has 1 comment

    Hi!
    I was wondering how many people does this recipe feed?
    I am having a dinner with 7 people and want to make this so i am wondering if i can use this one or if i should double the amount?

  5. KrynauwOtto2 Pretoria, South Africa joined 9/13 & has 54 comments

    Hi Maangchi!
    I dont have tofu right now, how can I replace it or should I skip iit?
    Thanks!!!

  6. naomiedwards93 Biloxi, MS joined 8/13 & has 1 comment

    Maangchi, thank you so much for posting these recipes. My mother left when I was nine so I was unable to eat homemade Korean food for a long time. Now I can make it myself! I had a question though, what is the difference between kimchi jjigae and kimchi guk?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,710 comments

      They are different. Kimchi soup contains more water. So you can put some rice into the soup and eat it. It’s very delicious in the winter time. Kimchi stew doesn’t contain as much water as kimchi soup and a little saltier. You can eat it with a spoon.

  7. luis Duluth Ga joined 6/13 & has 1 comment

    Thank you for recipies Im from Argentina, my wife from south korea ( busan)
    And we are expecting her first baby girl Haneul
    Her mom was here back in february and she left cause has to work
    So you Teach me how to make all kind of korean food thank you a lot
    if was not for you she can no get seeweed soup so i make it couple times till i got it rigth and know we are ready
    Thank you so so very much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,710 comments

      I can picture the scenes of your cooking miyeokguk (seaweed soup) and side dishes for your wife. Yes, I think you and your wife are ready for the baby! The baby has already the beautiful name “haneul” (sky in Korean) and your wife will be eating delicious miyeokguk that you make. What more would they need! Thank you for sharing your touching story with me and my other readers.
      Miyeokguk: https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/miyuk-guk

  8. cloud1990 mesquite texas joined 6/13 & has 1 comment

    thank you for wonderful videos! you make everything so easy. its watching a normal person, cook, chop and talk in a normal way, in a normal kitchen! its truly “normal” communication!:-)!!!

  9. xedrac Utah joined 3/13 & has 1 comment

    Wow, you are an amazing! I will certainly be making this in the near future! Thank you for the fantastic recipes and detailed videos!

  10. Miss Kim78 socali joined 3/13 & has 40 comments

    What’s up, Maangchi? I wish your videos were around the first time I was trying to make Kimchi Jjigae. The first time I ever made this dish was over ten years ago (when I was in college). I did not even know how to make bap (rice) back then. I would call my mom and ask her how to make such and such. And I remember that Kimchi Jjjigae was one of the first Korean dishes I learned how to make. My first attempt was horrible. It turned out so bland and the Kimchi just looked like it was thrown into hot water, all watered down with no flavor.

    Years later, through trial-and-error, my Kimchi Jjigae has come a long way. I actually like it now lol. What I like about your Kimchi Jjjigae recipe is that it is so simple and does not take too much time, great for when you are on the go and don’t have too much time to spend on cooking. The method I use is a little different than yours though. I like to sauté the pork belly first. I love how the caramelized pork belly slices tastes, and I always find myself munching as I cook. I love samgyupsal and even when I am eating samgyupsal by itself to eat, I prefer it to be caramelized and bbassak (not sure the English translation lol). And they taste even better when onion slices are added and sautéed together. I think this adds a deep, rich flavor to the Kimchi Jjigae while it is being simmered. The caramelization from the onions gives a slightly sweet taste to the pork belly slices. I then add the rest of the ingredients (Kimchi, minced Jalapeno, and minced garlic) and seasonings (salt/pepper, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, Dashida, and sugar). And I let it cook a bit before adding the water. At this point, it is good enough to eat it as Kimchi Bokkeum (Kimchi Stir-fried). When I add the water, I also like to add a shitload of Kimchi juice (just my preference), as I find it more flavorful. I finish it off with tofu, spam, and scallions.

    Your videos always make me so “behgopa”. Everything you cook and eat always looks so yummy. What do you think of my Kimchi Jjigae? Sorry I need more practice with the camera though!

    http://behgopa.blogspot.com/2013/03/kimchi-jjigae-kimchi-stew.html

  11. ahkima P.R. caribean joined 3/13 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi , I’m also really interested in Korean food,but were could I buy chilly paste and black bean paste on the internet?. I live in Puerto Rico (caribean) and there are no Korean markets here that i know of. thanks :)

  12. ang gelo Philippines joined 2/13 & has 6 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    Last night after work, I hurriedly went home to try out cooking kimchi jiggae using your recipe. I was in the bus thinking of this mouth-watering stew while my stomach was growling and couldn’t wait to have its fill of kimchi jiggae! Haha!
    Much to my taste buds’ delight, my cooking went well and my kimchi stew tasted so much authentic like the ones i’m eating in a Korean restaurant!
    Thank you so very much for your awesome recipe!

  13. TrinityDevil Singapore joined 10/12 & has 2 comments

    Is there anything to replace kimchi juice ? I buy small packets of kimchi but it hardly contain any juice .

  14. AkiToMH Australia joined 11/12 & has 2 comments

    Hello again, just to say that the kimchi stew was really nice !! thank you for sharing <3

  15. keerahloveskimchi Milwaukee, WI joined 5/12 & has 1 comment

    Maangchi! Will the dish be just as tasty without the paste and flakes??

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