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. janling82 joined 11/15 & has 1 comment

    How many servings/ppl will be eating based on yr kimchi stew recipe?

  2. cebuphilippines joined 10/15 & has 1 comment

    I’m going to cook this weekend , for sure my family will enjoy this yummy Kimchi!

  3. yeyewynes Singapore joined 3/14 & has 7 comments

    Hi Maangchi, i love this! However, wondering what’s the difference between this kimchi stew and kimchi soup?

  4. Lisa2321 USA joined 5/13 & has 4 comments

    Maangchi, this was delicious! I made it with two cans of tuna. I’ve been following your recipes for about 3 years now I think but I have never posted a reply. Thanks to you, I can cook delicious Korean food. I will be purchasing your new book, too! Thank you for everything!

  5. bunraf joined 6/15 & has 7 comments

    Thanx for the recipe.. I LOVE IT


    See full size image

  6. junkka South Korea joined 3/15 & has 8 comments

    I have a tip for those of you who want to preserve the leftovers.
    Cool them in the refrigerator and just put them in plastic bags and throw into a freezer. You can keep it almost indefinitely. When you want to cook it just throw into a pot with boiling water and it will taste as good as new.
    I used to this during my college days. I would go home from time to time to get frozen kimchijjgae and keep them in my freezer.

  7. KimchiSmell lJhkwbkjk9 joined 2/15 & has 2 comments

    I have some laver can I add that in there ?
    Also I’ve seen ramyun being added can that be added ? Or is that just ones personal preference ?

  8. hansik Singapore joined 2/15 & has 1 comment

    Thank you Maangchi for the recipe, I tried it and it was really delicious. I would like to know if I can add both tuna and pork – will it make it even better?

  9. Jarmak Boston joined 1/15 & has 1 comment

    Made this with some leftover corned beef instead of pork belly as a quick meal, it was so good it made me want to cure another brisket just to make stew with!

  10. Amanda San Jose, CA USA joined 11/13 & has 1 comment

    I added enoki enoki mushroom and king oyster mushroom. They added extra flavor to the stew. Taste so good!!! Thank you for the recipe!

  11. dinovta Indonesia joined 10/14 & has 2 comments

    Dear Maangchi,
    Thanks for your recipes. I’ve made kimchi napa cabbage 3 days ago. I want to try kimchi stew for lunch, can i use chicken breast? Thankyou.

  12. sunny17 Singapore joined 6/14 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi, how much is 4-5 cups in gram? Haha because we use gram/kilo here ^^ Thank you.

    • weiweilau Singapore joined 8/11 & has 1 comment

      Hi Maangchi,

      Is it possible to tweak the kimchi jigae recipe a little to make Korean army stew instead? I love Korean army stew and can’t stop eating this whenever I visit Korean restaurant. I love the part where instant noodles are cooked in the stew.

  13. Xiin Singapore joined 6/14 & has 3 comments

    Hello Maangchi :)
    It is possible to use kimchi bought from supermarket right? But everytime i see the packing, it does not have enough kimchi juice, so what do i do?

  14. kimchi_dad West Virginia joined 5/14 & has 1 comment

    I made this with my daughter today!!!! The only thing we did differently was to fry the tofu beforehand so that it would be chewy. It was absolutely delicious!!!! We watch you everyday and have probably seen all of your videos 50 times over on YouTube!!!! Thanks so much, Maangchi!!!!

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

      “fry the tofu beforehand so that it would be chewy.” yes, it sounds great!

      • EvilGrin joined 6/15 & has 33 comments

        I like tofu fried also for soups and stews. I use a chili oil for the frying and just lightly brown the tofu.

        Ive found that boneless country style ribs work extremely well for Jjigae and they are often cheap. They have a nice balance of fat too meat. Slicing them while partially frozen is much easier than completely thawed.

        I also stir fry my pork with some of the onion (not all) and pepper paste first.. Then add the kimchi and fry for another couple of minutes before adding the broth.This brings out a little more sweetness from the onion and changes the flavor of the pepper paste slightly..

  15. ihznim Melbourne joined 4/14 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi, I’m curious if there is any particular reason we should use a shallow pot for kimchi-jjigae? Is this just tradition, or does it affect the end product?

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

      oh, good thinking! Actually there is no particular reason to use a shallow pot. You can use a deep and narrow pot, too. But I think the stew cooked and served in a shallow pot will look better on the table and easier to share.

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