Korean Food, Kimchi-jjigae

Kimchi Jjigae : Spicy Korean Kimchi Stew Delight

If you have some old kimchi sitting in your fridge, why not make a delicious kimchi jjigae? This traditional Korean stew is made with fully fermented, sour kimchi and is a go-to comfort food in Korean homes. It pairs perfectly with fatty pork, creating a match made in heaven. Whether you’re using up old kimchi or simply satisfying a craving, this kimchi stew is all you need for a satisfying meal. Plus, I’ll share some tips for making the best kimchi jjigae, including using rice water for the stew base and adding the juice from the kimchi for extra flavor. So, grab your ingredients and get ready to enjoy a bowl of this flavorful and comforting stew.

Kimchi Jjigae: A Delicious and Comforting Dish

Korean Food, Kimchi-jjigae


Have some old kimchi in the fridge? Don’t let it go to waste! Instead, use it to make a delicious and comforting dish called kimchi jjigae. This stew is a go-to meal in Korean homes, and it’s incredibly satisfying when paired with a bowl of rice. Whether you’re using up old kimchi or simply craving a comforting meal, kimchi jjigae is all you need. In this article, we’ll explore the ingredients, instructions, variations, and tips for making this delectable dish.


Before we dive into the instructions, let’s take a look at the ingredients you’ll need to make a flavorful kimchi jjigae.

  • Bite-size kimchi
  • Fresh pork belly or other pork meat
  • Gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes)
  • Minced garlic
  • Cooking oil
  • Kimchi juice
  • Tofu
  • Scallions
  • Salt and pepper


Now that you have all your ingredients ready, follow these simple steps to make a mouthwatering kimchi jjigae.

  1. Cut the kimchi into bite-size pieces.
  2. Cut the meat into bite sizes.
  3. Slice the tofu and chop the scallions.
  4. Heat a pot with oil and cook the kimchi, pork, red pepper flakes, and garlic.
  5. Add kimchi juice and water (or broth) and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Add tofu and scallions, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Serve the kimchi jjigae while it’s hot and bubbling with delicious flavors.
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While the traditional kimchi jjigae recipe is already incredibly flavorful, there are a few variations you can try to mix things up.

  1. Tuna Kimchi Jjigae: Simply omit the pork and add a can of tuna with oil when adding the kimchi juice and water. You can also add onion slices for extra flavor.
  2. Kimchi Jjigae with no meat: Follow the same steps as the original recipe, but leave out the pork. This is a great option for vegetarians or those looking for a lighter version of the stew.

Korean Food, Kimchi-jjigae

Tips for Making Good Kimchi Jjigae

To ensure your kimchi jjigae turns out delicious and flavorful, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Use old, sour kimchi: Fully fermented kimchi provides the best flavor for this stew.
  2. Cook the kimchi and pork together: This step helps develop extra flavor in the dish.
  3. Use rice water as the stew base: Rice water, known as ssalddeumul, adds thickness to the broth and enhances the overall flavor. Use the water from the second or third round of rinsing rice.
  4. Try different broth options: Anchovy broth, chicken broth, milky bone broth, or vegetable broth can also be used as a soup base.
  5. Use kimchi juice for extra flavor: If available, add kimchi juice to the stew to enhance its taste.

Other Recipes with Old Kimchi

If you find yourself with more old kimchi to use up, try out these delicious recipes:

  • Instant Pot Kimchi Jjigae: Make this stew even faster and easier using an Instant Pot.
  • Kimchi Jeon (Pancakes): Turn your kimchi into crispy and savory pancakes.
  • Kimchi Fried Rice: Transform your kimchi into a flavorful fried rice dish.
  • Dubu Kimchi: Combine kimchi with tofu for a hearty and flavorful dish.
  • Kimchi Mandu (Dumplings): Stuff your kimchi into dumplings for a tasty snack.
  • Kimchi Kongnamul Guk (Soup): Create a comforting and nourishing soup with kimchi and soybean sprouts.
  • Kimchi Bibim Guksu (Cold Noodles): Enjoy a refreshing dish of cold noodles with tangy kimchi.
  • Braised Kimchi (Kimchi Jjim): Braise your kimchi for a rich and flavorful side dish.
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About Kimchi Jjigae

Kimchi jjigae is a beloved comfort food in Korea. It’s a stew made with fully fermented and sour kimchi, which adds a tangy and robust flavor to the dish. This stew is commonly eaten with rice, making it a satisfying and complete meal. Whether you’re enjoying it on a chilly day or simply craving some Korean flavors, kimchi jjigae is sure to warm your heart and satisfy your taste buds.

Choosing Meat for Kimchi Jjigae

While there are several variations of kimchi jjigae, fatty pork is the most favored choice in Korea. The combination of kimchi and fatty pork creates a heavenly flavor. Pork ribs are also commonly used and add a delicious richness to the stew. If pork is not to your liking, you can use beef or canned tuna as alternative options. Additionally, anchovy broth without meat can be used for a cleaner and lighter taste.

Tips for Making Kimchi at Home

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to make your own kimchi, here are some easy-to-follow recipes to get you started:

  • Pogi Kimchi: A classic recipe for traditional cabbage kimchi.
  • Mak Kimchi: A quick and easy recipe for a refreshing summer kimchi.
  • Vegan Kimchi: A plant-based version of kimchi made with vegetables and seasonings.

By making your own kimchi, you can control the ingredients and flavors to suit your taste. It’s a fun and rewarding culinary project that results in a delicious and versatile condiment.


Cooking Tips for Kimchi Jjigae

To ensure your kimchi jjigae turns out perfectly every time, keep these cooking tips in mind:

  1. Use fully fermented, sour kimchi for the best flavor.
  2. Cook the kimchi and pork together before adding the liquid. This step helps develop extra flavor in the stew.
  3. Use rice water (ssalddeumul) for a thicker broth. The water from rinsing rice can enhance the flavor and texture of the stew.
  4. Experiment with different broths to vary the flavors. Anchovy broth, chicken broth, milky bone broth, or vegetable broth can all add a unique twist to the stew.
  5. If available, use kimchi juice to enhance the flavor of the broth. The juice adds an extra depth of flavor to the stew.
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Kimchi jjigae is a delicious and comforting dish that can be enjoyed on any occasion. The combination of tangy kimchi, tender meat, and flavorful broth creates a hearty and satisfying meal. Whether you’re using up old kimchi or simply craving Korean flavors, kimchi jjigae is the perfect go-to dish. Get creative with different variations and explore other recipes using old kimchi. With these tips and techniques, you’ll be able to make a mouthwatering kimchi jjigae that will impress your friends and family. So grab your ingredients, follow the instructions, and enjoy this delightful Korean stew!