Every year in late fall, I make enough kimchi to last through the winter and spring. After aging, the kimchi becomes sour and packs rich flavor, making it perfect for stews or soups! This kimchi jjim is a family favorite!
In Korea, mukeunji (묵은지), which is traditional poggi kimchi that has aged over at least a six-month period, is commonly used for this dish. The flavor of that old kimchi is quite intense. Some Korean restaurants offer mukeunji dishes such as mukenji jjim (pork-braised) and mukeunji godeungeo jorim (mackerel-braised).
Don’t worry! Your kimchi doesn’t need to be 6 months old for you to make this dish. However, it’s best to use well fermented kimchi that has turned sour. The older the better! If you don’t have homemade kimchi, your Korean market may carry commercially made poggi kimchi.
Fatty pork is the most popular meat choice for kimchi jjigae in Korea. As I always say, kimchi and fatty pork make a perfect pair. It’s no surprise pork ribs are common and delicious in kimchi stew. If using them, cook the ribs until they’re somewhat tender by boiling them for 20-30 minutes, and then cook them with kimchi.
Tips for making good kimchi jjim
- Old, sour kimchi is the best for this dish.
- Use the water used to rinse rice (ssalddeumul, 쌀뜨물) for the braising liquid. It’s commonly used for Korean stews. Use the water from the second or third round of rinsing. The rice water thickens the broth slightly and enhances the flavor of the braised kimchi. Otherwise Anchovy broth, chicken broth, milky bone broth or vegetable broth will also be great for this dish.
- If juice from kimchi is available, it will add lots of flavor to the broth.
- You can cut kimchi into small pieces before cooking, but in Korea it’s commonly made with the quarter cabbage intact as shown in the photo below and cut at the table.
- If the kimchi is overly sour, add a little sugar to the stew to balance out the sour taste. It rounds up the flavor nicely, but it’s not absolutely necessary if you don’t want to use sugar.
More recipes with old kimchi
Kimchi Jjim (Braised Kimchi)Main
- 6 ounces pork belly or shoulder (or beef chuck or brisket)
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1.5 pounds kimchi (1 quarter of the whole napa cabbage) You can use more or less kimchi. Simply adjust the water amounts.
- 1/2 cup juice from kimchi
- 1.5 cups water (or anchovy broth) If making rice, use the water used to rinse rice (ssalddeumul, 쌀뜨물) instead of plain water.
- 1 to 2 teaspoons gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes)
- 1 or 2 scallions, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon sugar You can omit if you like. (see note)
- Cut the pork meat into large chunks (about 1/2-inch thick). In a pot, preferably with a thick bottom, combine the meat with the ginger and garlic.
- Cut the kimchi crosswise into 2 or 3 sections or use the whole quarter cabbage kimchi intact.
- Add to the pot with the meat. Add the kimchi juice, water(or broth), and gochugaru. Bring it to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer, covered, until the kimchi and meat are tender, about 40 minutes. If the liquid is evaporating too quickly, add more water (or broth) or reduce the heat.
- Stir in the scallions and sugar, 5 minutes before turning the heat off. Serve with cooked rice.
This kimchi jjim recipe was originally posted in March 2013. I’ve updated here with new photos, more information, and minor improvements to the recipe.