Kimchi Stew :: Kimchi Jjigae (김치찌개)

If there was ever a poster child for Korean comfort food (just look at my site banner above! ;)), this would be it.

Now that we are deep into fall and that much closer to winter, I’m craving a lot of soups and stews — whether it’s of the Korean (kimchi, dwenjang) or the Western (chowders, beef burgundy) varieties, I’ll take them all! I love nothing more than sitting in front of a steaming [usual communal] pot of gurgling witch’s brew and digging in with my fellow hungry compatriots.

Here is one of the simplest, most fulfilling Korean dishes I know — and like a good bolognese sauce, only gets better with age (just add a bit more water). Hopefully it will warm and spice up your soul as much as it does mine!

Kimchi Jjigae (serves 4)
Ingredients:
– 2 or 3 cups of super ripe kimchi, cut up in small (about 2″-3″) pieces
– 1-2 large spoonfuls of gochujang (hot pepper paste), depending on your taste
– 2 or 3 slabs of uncured pork belly (samgyubsal), or about a cup of diced boneless pork tenderloin/chop –> pork is key in this jjigae!
– 1 large spoonful minced garlic
– half a block of tofu, cut into small 1″-2″ cubes
– 1 or 2 scallions
– water, about 4-5 cups (you can always add more)
– sesame oil (about a teaspoon for the pork,  a drizzle for the end)

Directions:
1. Using a heavy bottomed pot (or ceramic crock if you have one), warm up the sesame oil, saute pork and garlic over medium heat, taking care not to burn the garlic.
2. Put cut-up kimchi (with its juices) in the pot, saute with the pork until pink is gone (at this point, you can just take it out and enjoy with some tofu; but that’s another dish called dooboo kimchi ;)).
3. Add water in the pot, stir in the gochujang and ratchet up the heat to bring to a boil, partially covered, 15-20 minutes (longer the better).
4. Add tofu and a touch of sesame oil. Cook additional 10-15 minutes on lowered heat, partially covered. If the water level looks low, add some more and taste along the way.
5. Add the scallions right at the end. Bring to the table hot and gurgling. Enjoy with rice and lots and lots of cold water!

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8 Responses to “Kimchi Stew :: Kimchi Jjigae (김치찌개)”


  1. 1 Talya November 19, 2009 at 4:36 am

    Thanks so much for this. I make it all the time but have yet to actually write it down.

    • 2 eatyourbap November 19, 2009 at 5:32 pm

      Thanks for the note, Talya – hope it works out for you! Enjoy all the wonderful food in Korea while you’re there — you’ll miss it one day :)

  2. 3 Christine November 19, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    it looks soooo good! pork is definitely key to deliciousness. spam too. i don’t care what they say about spam; it is damn tasty in kimchi chigae or kimchi fried rice.

  3. 4 valerie December 8, 2009 at 12:03 am

    yay! i finally found a recipe for kim chi jjigae.. i always faked it before. a few of questions though: what kind of tofu do you use? i’ve always preferred silken for it’s texture, but it breaks so easily! also, my local supermarkets don’t carry pork belly, so i cut pork chop instead, but it comes out VERY tough. any suggestions?

    • 5 eatyourbap December 8, 2009 at 12:39 pm

      Hi Valerie – thanks for your comment. I prefer regular/firm tofu, as it is less likely to breakdown during the cooking/reheating process.

      I often use cut up pork chop myself. In order to avoid tough pork, I would make sure you simmer the soup for a long time (at least 20 minutes). I think the longer cooking allows the meat to become more tender; that’s probably why kimchi jjigae tends to taste better in the coming days. Hope that helps!

  4. 6 chicopea December 23, 2009 at 12:15 am

    wow i so dig this site H! This is such an amazing dish for the winter. i had the tofu pot recently in fort lee but this looks much heartier and delish!

  5. 7 Christine K. February 18, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    I tried this recipe the other day and my husband ate his whole bowl!! thanks for the recipe!! :)

    • 8 eatyourbap February 24, 2010 at 9:40 am

      Hi Christine!

      Happy new year! Oh wow, I’m glad he liked it that much :) That makes me so happy!! Hope you guys are well!


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