There are many ways to make it. The popular version, which is also my favorite, is made with fatty pork. Kimchi and fatty pork is a match made in heaven. To add extra flavor, cook the kimchi and pork together before adding the liquid. If you’d like, use beef or canned tuna instead. It’s also good simply made in anchovy broth, without any meat, for a cleaner taste. Use the juice from the kimchi if available because it will add lots of flavor to the broth. Whether you make it to use up old kimchi, or to satisfy a craving, this small pot of comfort food is all you need for a satisfying meal.
More ideas for using up old kimchi: dubu kimchi, kimchi jeon, kimchi mandu, kimchi fried rice, kimchi kongnamul guk, kimchi bibim guksu, spaghetti with kimchi and kimchi jjim.
2 cups packed bite size kimchi (fully fermented)
4 ounces fresh pork belly (or other pork meat with some fat)
1 to 3 teaspoons Korean red chili pepper flakes (gochugaru) – adjust to taste
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1/2 cup juice from kimchi (if available)
2 cups of water* (1/2 cup more if not using kimchi juice)
6 ounces tofu
salt and pepper to taste
* For added flavor, save the water used to rinse rice, ssal ddeum mul, and use for jjigae/stew. The water used to rinse rice is commonly used for Korean jjigae. I normally use the water from the third round of rinsing. Another option is to use anchovy broth (about 7 or 8 medium dry anchovies and 1 3-inch square dried kelp boiled in 3 cups of water for 10 minutes).
In a pot, cook the kimchi and pork with the red pepper flakes, garlic, and ginger over medium high heat until the kimchi is softened and the pork cooks through, about 10 minutes. Add the kimchi juice and water. Reduce the heat to medium, and boil for about 20 minutes. Add more water if necessary.
Add the tofu and scallions. Salt and pepper to taste. (Salt is usually not necessary, unless kimchi was lightly seasoned or kimchi juice is not available.) Boil until the tofu is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Serve while bubbling over from the heat.
Tuna kimchi jjigae:
To make kimchi jjigae with no meat, follow the same steps leaving out the pork. Add one can of tuna (chamchi) with oil when adding the kimchi juice and water and boil for 10 – 15 minutes. (You can add onion slices at this point if desired.) Follow the rest of the recipe above. (Fresh or canned salmon works well too in kimchi jjigae.)