Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew), what goes around comes around


Kimchi Jjigae
Kimchi, Kimchee, I love Kimchee.

Fresh or rotten (?), hot or cold…

When I was in the college once upon a time in the far far west, one of my roommate threw away my precious bottle of Kimchi one day, telling me that my cabbage was rotten. She did not apologize. Next day I threw away her cheese telling her that her milk went rotten and stinky. It was.
No questions were asked. We didn’t fight but I made my point.
Life is funny sometimes.
Several years later I bumped into her at the mall. It turned out that she married to someone who loves Korean food and keeps a bottle of Kimchi in the fridge all the time!
And I married to a guy who has to nibble on cheese and crackers pretty much every night.
We laughed…
What goes around comes around.

kimchi jjigae(stew)

If you have the stinky rotten Kimchi (Kimchee) in the fridge, don’t throw away. Make a pot of stew.

Important: Your Kimchee needs to be VERY, VERY FERMENTED. If you are starting with store bought jar of Kimchi let it sit on the counter for at least couple of days. You want the Kimchi to be so old that you don’t want to eat as is.

You will need; Kimchi of course, pork belly or butt, tofu (I use firm), onion, garlic, kimchi juice, Korean soy sauce, rice wine, rice cake (optional), anchovy and sea kelp (optional).


I must be an anchovy in my previous life. I love them. If you don’t care for it, forget about them. Use water instead. I won’t be offended.
For the stock, boil first and let it simmer for 10 minutes, strain the stock and discard the anchovy and the sea kelp.

Season your pork with Korean soy sauce, rice wine(Mirim), and garlic. Set aside.

This is Ms. Kimchi, a lady in red. Shake her bum bum gently to remove some stuffing inside over the sink.

Slice any way you like.

Slice the onion.

In a small bowl, combine some chili with some kimchi juice and rice wine.

In a somewhat shallow pot, spread onion on the bottom and place kimchi slices on top.

Scatter the oink-oink, I mean the pork…


Place tofu slices on top and smother the chili flake sauce on anywhere you like.


Pour the reserved kimchi juice all over,


and the anchovy stock or water.
I forgot to take a picture but you can add some rice cake slices if you happened to have. (I always save a few slices whenever I make rice cake soup for this purpose. Helps thicken the stew)

Now, my lady in red is totally immersed. Cover and boil.


When it gets boiling like this, reduce the heat to low.


Cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes.  You want your lady to be nice and tender.

February and March are the month when Kimchi stew is eaten the most in Korea.
Because all the Kimchi which has been made during Nov/Dec to last through the winter finally comes to an end of their shelf life.
April brings the spring cabbages. The new Kimchi will be born in a glory.
 But my old fermented Kimchi will never go out of spotlight.
She will not step down to a clearance rack.
 Let it shine!

in the name of STEW…

kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew)

Kimchee (Kimchi) Stew

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Serving Size: 4-6

Kimchee (Kimchi) Stew


  • 1/4 head of fermented cabbage Kimchee (about 1 lb), stuffing removed and sliced
  • 2 1/2 cup anchovy stock or water
  • 1/3 lb pork belly or pork butt diced
  • 8 oz firm tofu, sliced
  • 1/2 large onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp Korean soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp rice wine, divided
  • 1/2 cup Kimchee juice
  • 1 Tbsp Korean chili flakes
  • 6-8 rice cake slices (optional)
  • For the Anchovy stock:
  • 5-6 large dried anchovies
  • 3 dried sea kelp squares
  • 3 cup water


  1. In a bowl toss pork slices with Korean soy sauce, 1 Tbsp rice wine, and garlic. Set aside.
  2. In another small bowl, combine Korean chili flakes with 2 Tbsp of Kimchee juice and 1 Tbsp rice wine and set aside.
  3. In a shallow pot, spread onion on the bottom, layer Kimchee slices, the pork, and the tofu slices on top. You can add rice cakes if you want to. Drizzle the Korean chili flake mixture over. Pour the rest of Kimchee juice and the stock (or water) over everything. Cover and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 25-30 minutes, covered, until the cabbage gets soft and tender. Garnish with green onion if you wish. Serve hot with rice.
  4. Anchovy stock:
  5. Bring anchovies, kelp, and water to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. If you let it rest for a few minutes the stock will have better flavor. Strain the stock and discard anchovies and kelp.


Get Free Email Updates!

Signup now and receive an email once I publish new content.

I will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.



    • 7

      Holly says

      Depends on the types of Kimchi, it can be kept from 1 month to 1 year. Usually cabbage kimchi last longer than radish kimchi or cucumber kimchi. If the cabbage kimchi is in whole (wrapped in its own leaf, not diced) made with Korean cabbage, they can last up to 1 year if stored properly in the fridge. Some cabbage kimchi can last longer but those are for stews and braising dishes. I have tried 3 year old kimchi. Very sour, can’t eat the way it is, but made wonderful stews.

  1. 9

    Joanna says

    Thank you I am really interested in making this stew… but I must wait for my kimchi to ferment… I was wondering if there is a specific amount of reserved kimchi juice that you need. 1 cup? 1 1/2 cups? Please let me know, thank you!

  2. 11

    Fancy says

    I found your site while looking for kimchi recipe and i have to say i cant stop reading your post lol Very authentic Korean cooking that i want to try out one by one! Those ingredient is v easy to find in Singapore, i saw them at Korean stores but never tried, your step by step guide with amazing photos is great help. Thanks for sharing and wish you a smooth move home.


Leave a Reply