Kimchi JJigae (Kimchi Stew)

kimchi jjigae
 
In this post, I’m updating my kimchi jjigae post that was originally posted in September 2009 with better photos and new head notes.  
 
When kimchi gets old, it becomes an excellent ingredient for various other dishes! The most common dish made with aged kimchi is kimchi jjigae (김치 찌개). It’s a go-to stew in Korean homes. Growing up in Korea, we had a lot of meals just with kimchi jjigae and a bowl of rice. I don’t remember ever getting tired of it. 

kimchi jjigae
 

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 recipes you can make with old kimchi : dubu kimchi, kimchi jeonkimchi mandukimchi fried rice, kimchi kongnamul guk, kimchi bibim guksu, spaghetti with kimchi and kimchi jjim.

If you want to make some kimchi at home, here are my easy-to-follow recipes: pogi kimchi, mak kimchi, and vegan kimchi

 
Kimchi jjigae
 
DSC 5089 150x150 1 - Kimchi JJigae (Kimchi Stew)

Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)

4.65 from 31 votes
Servings: 2
Author: Hyosun
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 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 - see note
  • 6 ounces tofu
  • 2 scallions
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cut the meat and kimchi into bite sizes. Slice the tofu (about 1/2-inch thick), and roughly chop the scallions.
    kimchi jjigae
  • 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 5 to 7 minutes. Add the kimchi juice and water. Reduce the heat to medium, and boil, covered, for about 20 minutes. Add more water if necessary.
    kimchi stew
  • 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.
    kimchi jjigae

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.)

Notes

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).
Tried this recipe?Mention @koreanbapsang or tag #koreanbapsang!

 

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Comments

  1. Hello Hyosun,

    What is the difference between using firm vs soft tofu?
    I’m wondering incase I’m unable to find any soft tofu at my grocery store. Thank you for sharing all your recipes. Can’t wait to try them all!

    • Hi Amalia! It’s just a textural diff. Koreans prefer tofu to be softer in jjigae, but not a huge difference. Use what you can find. Enjoy!

  2. Been following your website since start of the year and have made some amazing dishes. Thank you 🙂 This is my next recipe that I want to try with some left over kim chi, just wanted to ask, when you say ‘pot’, are you referring to an earthen pot, the same that is used for steamed eggs recipe?

    Thanks in advance

    • Thanks for following! Yes, it’s the same earthen pot, but a bigger size. However, you can cook kimchi jjigae in any pot you have.

  3. What firmness tofu do you use for this?

  4. 5 stars
    I love kimchi soup…it’s so versatile! I add whatever meat I have on hand, but I definitely agree that pork gives it the best flavor. A lot of recipes call for adding sugar, but I don’t. My husband likes a touch of sweetness to it, so he often adds hoisin sauce to his. Like your suggestion, I often cook the meat and kimchi together before adding the liquid, but I also sometimes add the tofu at that step as well to give it a bit more flavor and texture as well. I also like to add dices zucchini and shredded carrots, and I often substitute broth for about half of the liquid. I’ve only been dabbling in Asian cooking for a few months, so I love to try different versions of the same dish, especially this one. I can’t say that doing it my own way has always been a success…there have been some huge failures with other dishes!…but I haven’t gone wrong with this stew yet!

  5. 5 stars
    Hi Hyousun. Ive made this meal like 5 times already. Its very nice and I love it especially in the winter or on the rainy days. It warms my heart.

    Im amazed with korean cuisine, you use a lots of vegetables and I love spicy food too. Here in Prague we dont have much korean restaurants, so I started to cook by myself according your recipes. Youre my only source to be honest :). My boyfriend is Portuguese and he is so amazed by your meals, that he started to talk about marrying me. 🙂 hahaha

    Thank you for creating this site. Have a nice day.

    Kristina

  6. Hello! I would love to try this recipe but I’m not sure where to find pork belly near me. What other kind of pork can I use?

    • Any pork part will be okay, preferably with some fat. Pork ribs are great too. You may want to boil the ribs and then add kimchi. Hope this helps.

  7. Hi,
    Can I make it without the red pepper flakes and use gochujang instead?

  8. Eugene Sullivan says

    Thank you; your recipes are really just like what I ate in Korea while I was in the Army at my friend’s house. Real Korean home cooking at its best. Easy-to-use recipes. Again, thank you.

  9. Adam E Zappe says

    Hi. I bought Assi Brand chili paste made by Korean Farm inc out of Korea. The Asian grocery store did not have the Korean pepper flakes. Can I use the paste in place of the flakes. Thank you very much.

  10. Thank you for your recipe. This came out great!

  11. Where has this site been all my life????

  12. Susan Burkowsky says

    Can this be frozen? I’d love to include this for my soup swap!

    • The texture of kimchi may alter a bit. I’d suggest you keep it in the fridge. It will keep well for a few days if you need to make it ahead.

  13. Thank you so much! I have been trying to figure out what was wrong with the recipes I used for years and I realise now its the rice water! When I use rice water, together with dried anchovy and kombu, to make broth it turns out very good. 😀 Thankz heaps

  14. I love this recipe so much, I’ve made it several times and it always turns out delicious.
    I substitute the tofu for rice cake because I don’t like tofu and the water for beef stock because I enjoy the slightly richer flavour. I’ve just started making my own kimchi so I should be making it a lot more 🙂

  15. Turned out great. Thanks!

  16. Hello! I can’t wait to make this. I want to use my crock pot, what is the quantity your recipe serves? I want to make a large amount and freeze for the winter… perhaps I should double it? Thank you!

  17. hi, can i not use the gochugaru? or any red pepper flakes will do? i planning to cook this, sundubu and teokbokki.

    I’ve went through some of your recipe, they are so simple and easy to follow. I’m so happy to have found it. Thank you!! 🙂

    • You don’t have to use gochugaru. Kimchi and kimchi juice should be sufficient. It will just be less spicy. I am so happy you found me as well. Happy cooking!!

  18. Hi can I know is this the same way to prepare army stew? Been wanting to make army stew but not sure is it the right way. Kindly advise. Thank you in advance

    • Yes, but use more water because you will need to add other ingredients like ham, spam, bacon, hot dogs, and/or vegetables such as onions. You can stir fry the kimchi (and raw pork if using) first and add the other ingredients or put everything together and cook. Hope this helps. I hope to put up my recipe up soon. Thanks!

  19. I always order Kimchi jigae when I go to korean restaurants and I always wanted to make it home. What kind of pot should I use?

  20. Anonymous says

    Is it okay if we add no meat or fish at all?

  21. Looks so yummy… every time I’m on this site, I start drooling. I’ve never been a fan of fatty pork, even though I know it adds great flavor so my mom used to make it, sometimes, with canned 꽁치 and she would add a little sliced potatoes, too. I’m starting to have more old kimchi in my fridge b/c I’m buying larger sizes (my youngest LOVES kimchi). I’ll have to make this and see if she’ll like kimchi cooked.

    • We love canned kkongchi or mackerel version too. Hope your daughter likes kimchi jjigae. I loved it as a child. Thanks!

  22. Love it!

  23. Love it!

  24. Magalie Blaise says

    So good I just test this recipe yesterday. Result = yummi ^^
    I used canned kimchi, I’m from France it’s the only I can find but it’s delicious like that

    • Hello Magalie – I’m glad to hear it works well with canned kimchi also. I’d think many of my other readers would like to know that as well. Thanks for the feedback! Cheers!

  25. Courtney Poles says

    Hyosun Ro,

    Thank you for posting this recipe. I am making it and the taste is great but I find that I am low on broth. Any suggestions as to what I might be doing wrong? Thank you!

    • Hyosun Ro says

      It could be that your heat is too high. Just add more water, lower the heat, or cook covered. Any of these will help. Thanks!

  26. Hysoun, I made two pots of this yummy and hearty stew (I used pork for hubby and tuna for myself). Both turned out extremely delicious! Hubby didn’t feel like sharing his pot of stew with his other Korean friends! Hahaha 🙂

    • Hyosun Ro says

      That’s funny! I am glad he liked it so much. I like to use tuna sometimes, but pork is a definite favorite.

  27. Hello again Hyosun. I just left a comment unde your Kimchi JJigae recipe but that comment was meant to be for your Kimchi Bokkeum Bap! Sorry 🙁

  28. I doubled this recipe planning to have some leftover so that I would not have to cook for the next meal but my Korean husband and his Korean friend ate the four serves in one go! This is how good it was! Thank you Hyosun 🙂

    • Hyosun Ro says

      That’s great! I am glad to hear your husband and friend liked it that much! Thanks for letting me know!

  29. trialsinfood says

    I tried this recipe last night and my husband loved it! He said it was restaurant quality. Thanks.

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