Kimchi Jjim (Braised Kimchi and Pork Ribs)
Kimchi jjim, also known as braised kimchi, is a beloved Korean dish that features aged kimchi braised with pork ribs in a flavorful sauce. Vegetarian diet adaptable.
As winter gives way to spring in Korea, many home cooks are eager to use up the aged kimchi they’ve stored throughout the colder months. One dish that’s especially popular is kimchi jjim, which you’ll find on Korean dinner tables across the country not just in winter, but also during the spring season.
Pork is an ideal companion to kimchi, and pork ribs are particularly suited to showcase the depth of flavor that Korean kimchi can offer. The long, slow simmering of the pork ribs allows the marrow to be extracted from the bones, resulting in the ultimate taste experience of Korean kimchi.
What is kimchi jjim?
Kimchi jjim, also known as braised kimchi, is a beloved Korean dish that features tender, juicy pork ribs (or any fatty pork part) simmered in a flavorful, spicy sauce made with kimchi, Korean chili flakes (gochugaru), Korean soybean paste (doenjang), and other aromatics.
The result is a hearty, comforting dish that is perfect for cold winter nights or any time you crave some spicy, tangy Korean flavors.
While aged kimchi called mugeunji (묵은지) is commonly used, any old fermented cabbage kimchi works fine in braised kimchi. Along with the kimchi, pork ribs are added to make the dish more hearty.
For vegetarians, you can still enjoy this amazing Korean braised kimchi dish by simply substituting the meat with your favorite protein alternative and a flavorful sea kelp stock.
Mugeunji (묵은지): It is a type of aged kimchi that’s typically over a year old, sometimes up to three years old. While it’s too potent and sour to eat on its own, it’s perfect for use in braised dishes like kimchi jjim. The aging process creates a unique depth of flavor that’s enhanced by simmering the kimchi in a rich, spicy sauce with fatty pork.
You can purchase a package of mugeunji kimchi (묵은지) in the refrigerator section of Korean markets.
So, don’t toss your old cabbage kimchi – it may just be the secret ingredient to your next delicious meal! If you are interested in more dishes using fermented kimchi, here are some examples:
Pro tips for this recipe
- For a more authentic and rustic look, use a whole cabbage of aged kimchi for braising, rather than cutting it into chunks. This will also help to lock in the flavor.
- Pork ribs are commonly used for this recipe, but pork shoulder or other fatty parts of pork can also work well.
- Parboiling pork ribs before adding it to the braise can help reduce fat and gaminess, and remove impurities. If using pork shoulder, parboiling is not necessary.
- For an extra kick of flavor and spiciness, add green chilies towards the end of cooking.
- If your pot doesn’t have a heavy lid, you may need to add an extra 1/2 to 1 cup of stock to make up for the steam that will escape during cooking.
- aged sour kimchi: the sourer, the better
- pork ribs or pork shoulder
- onion and garlic
- Kimchi brine (kimchi juice)
- Korean chili flakes (gochugaru)
- Korean soybean paste (doenjang)
- Korean soup soy sauce
- sugar: to neutralize the acid of kimchi
- sweet rice wine
- green chili and green onion (optional)
How to make kimchi jjim with pork ribs
Step 1. Make stock
Combine dried anchovies and sea kelp with water in a pot, bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes. Reserve 2 cups of stock.
Step 2. Parboil pork ribs
If using pork ribs, blanch them in boiling water for 10 minutes, then drain and rinse well. If using other pork without bone, skip this step. Spread onion on the bottom of braising pot.
Step 3. Season pork ribs
In a large mixing bowl, mix chili flakes, soybean paste, soup soy sauce, garlic, sugar, sweet rice wine, and sesame oil. Add the pork and toss well to coat with the sauce. Place the seasoned pork ribs on top of onion.
Step 4. Add kimchi and kimchi brine
Cover the pork with whole kimchi and drizzle kimchi brine (kimchi juice) around.
Step 5. Pour stock and braise
Pour the reserved stock over everything, cover with a lid, and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat.
Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Turn the cabbage to the other side and continue to simmer for another 30-40 minutes. Serve warm with a bowl of rice.
If desired, add green chili and green onion and cook for another 5 minutes.
If your pot doesn’t have a heavy lid, you may need to add an extra 1/2 to 1 cup of stock to make up for the steam that will escape during cooking.
Ever wondered how to eat a whole cabbage in kimchi jjim?
One way is to use kitchen scissors to chop it up, but in my home, we prefer to tear it by hand – just like my mother did when I was a kid. It might seem strange, but it’s a tradition I’ve come to love, and now I even use it to teach my own kids!
More dishes made With kimchi
- Authentic Pork Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)
- Cheesy Kimchi Potato Pancakes
- Kimchi Bacon Fried Rice
- Crispy Kimchi Fried Rice with Cheese
- Curry Kimchi Pancakes
- Korean Soft Tofu Clam Stew (Sundubu Jjigae)
Kimchi Jjim (Braised Kimchi and Pork ribs)
- 2-1/2 lb pork short ribs
- 2 lb aged whole cabbage kimchi (mugeunji), preferably, but any sour cabbage kimchi works fine
- 1/4 cup kimchi brine (kimchi juice)
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 tbsp Korean chili flakes (gochugaru)
- 1 tbsp Korean soy bean paste, doenjang
- 1 tbsp Korean soup soy sauce (gukganjang), gook-ganjang
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp sweet rice wine (mirim), optional
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 fresh green chili or jalapeño, sliced, optional
- 2 green onions, chopped
For the stock
- 6-7 large dried anchovies
- 1 dried sea kelp (dashima)
- 4 cups water
To make the stock
- Combine dried anchovies and sea kelp with water in a pot, bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes. Reserve 2 cups of stock.
To make kimchi jjim
- If using pork ribs, blanch them in boiling water for 10 minutes, then drain and rinse well. If using other pork with bones, skip this step.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix chili flakes, soybean paste, soup soy sauce, garlic, sugar, and rice wine. Add the pork and toss well to coat with the sauce.
- In a pot, spread onion on the bottom and place the seasoned pork ribs on top. Cover with whole kimchi and drizzle kimchi juice around. Pour the reserved stock over everything, cover with a lid, and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Turn the cabbage to the other side and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes. If desired, add green chili and green onion and cook for another 10 minutes. Serve warm with a bowl of rice.
- Serving tip: Ever wondered how to eat a whole cabbage in kimchi jjim? One way is to use kitchen scissors to chop it up, but in my home, we prefer to tear it by hand – just like my mother did when I was a kid. It might seem strange, but it's a tradition I've come to love, and now I even use it to teach my own kids!
Note 2. For vegetarians, substitute the meat with your favorite protein alternative and a flavorful sea kelp stock.
Oh my, this was amazing. It sounds strange, but reminds me of a fermented polish stew bigos. Nothing better than fermented cabbage a day stewed meat.
I never tried Polish bigos, but sounds delicious. Glad that you liked this recipe. Thanks for you comment, as always.
I love this recipe in Korea but I don’t have the ingredients to make the stock and was wondering if there a Substitution For the stock
You can use chicken stock (no salt added) or water. Although stock brings a depth in flavor.
Hi Holly! Thanks for this recipe. I fell in love with Korean food whilst doing a study abroad year at Yondei. Hopefully my old kimchi will be ok for this or, if not, kimchi bokkum bap. A few months ago I made a windfall of cabbage kimchi and radish kimchi. But before it matured I suddenly felt violently ill, and soon couldn’t tolerate any food but sweet food–you guessed it, pregnant. With my other pregnancies I loved red hot Korean food, despite nausea, but this time couldn’t tolerate anything remotely spicy. So now I begin to crave cold weather food and kimchi sounds good again since I am five months along–fingers crossed the kimchis will still be okay. I am sure they will be mushy as you predict, but with a chigae or in fried rice I will just tell myself that is the desired mouth feel! Hopefully not too alcoholic in taste though or that it will evaporate quickly because any whiff of booze really turns me off completely. In any case, thanks for giving me hope to use my unplanned very mature kimchi.
First of all congratulation on the exciting news. I had to go through severe nausea with my pregnancies and I couldn’t eat kimchi either because of the smell. As long as your kimchi not alcoholic, they can be redeemed in stews, fried rice, and etc. Hope you get to try this recipe. It is perfect for the cold weather.
Dear Holly, thanks for the congratulations. It must have been very hard to not want to eat or smell kimchi when you were pregnant since kimchi is essential for the Korean kitchen. Your husband must be congratulated for his forbearance and patience while you were sick. So sorry that you went through severe nausea for your pregnancies. Something you had in common with the Duchess of Cambridge. For the kimchi, the good news is miraculously it wasn’t alcoholic so we had a wonderful kimchi chigae this evening. Next time: kimchi bokkum bap. But we are trying your Swiss chard rice recipe as soon as I get more chard/pak soi!
I cooked this dish using ordinary cabbage kimchi as I couldn’t find moogunji here in Kuala Lumpur. I cooked a big pot and all finish within one sitting. It was so delicious that most of us have two bowls of rice with its. This is one recipe for keep. Thanks a lot Holly for another wonderful recipe.
That is just wonderful! Thanks Caroline. This is kind of dish that we call in Korea “rice thief”, which means it easily takes a bowl of rice in split seconds to empty out. 🙂
Hi Holly, fantastic job. I just salivate every time I look at the Pictures. Going to start with Jajjanmeyeon first. Woohoo.
Thanks! Hope you enjoy the Jjajangmyeon. Cheers!
I love your cookware. May I ask what size dutch ovens you’re using for your recipes?
It is a 3.5qt round pot, perfect for a small batch of soup and stew for about 4-6 servings.
I tried few of your recipes and husband loved it! He loves korean food and i do watch a lot of korean drama and for some reason they just love to eat and it is so fun to watch them eat:) it made me curious what they were eating so i search for korean food and found your blog. Recipes are simple and easy to follow, thank you so much! I even now have korean instabt noodles in my pantry;)
I enjoy reading your recipes and have tried a few with great success. Quick question: Do you think I can make this Pork Ribs and Kimchi dish in a slow cooker? Would I need to make any adjustments? Thanks!
HI Robyn, Using a slow cooker is a great idea. I don’t think there would be any adjustments except the cooking time. Hope you like it.
Hello Holly. I love your blog and enjoy bringing Korean dishes into my Chinese Japanese American home.
If I make this recipe using my slow cooker, you said to adjust the time. Would that be to extend the time? Or to shorten the time?
I guess it depends on the temperature setting in slow cooker. If using high temperature, I would go for 3-4 hours. On low, 6-8 hours?
Thank you for share.I like eat pork very must.
i am your reader from indonesia and same as all of asian girl now, we are “poisoned” by korean (movie, song, and food)
I am so fond of your writing style, behind every recipe given there is a story and that’s why i like your blog.
nice to know you 🙂
Thanks to the popularity of your blog on Pinterest, I found a link that brought me here. My mother was Korean and I grew up enjoying so many delicious Korean dishes. With the exception of Kimchi Jjigae, Mandu, and Tteok Gook, which she already taught me how to make, there were many dishes my mom used to make that I’ve been wanting to learn. Unfortunately, my mom passed away, a few years ago, before I could learn any more of her great recipes. With your blog, I’ve been able to find recipes for so many comfort foods… foods that remind me of her and give me that warm, soothing feeling of home. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes, especially this one! I remember my mom making a similar dish and I’m so excited to try it! Happy upcoming Korean New Year to you… Will you be making Tteok Gook?
It is great to hear from you and thank you for your sweet comment. It is my pleasure that some of my recipes can help you bring your childhood memories back. Nothing is more comforting than enjoying home cooked meal that our loved one had prepared for us. Hope you get to enjoy more recipes. I will make some tteokgook soon. Cheers!
This is so interesting !
It looks delicious
Your photos are exquisite! I’ll be making this recipe for the Super Bowl. Thanks for your amazing site. I love Korean food and you make it seem somewhat easy for a novice like myself. 🙂
Hi Mad Betty, Thanks for your compliment. Hope this recipe will turn out great for you. Let me know if you have any questions regarding the recipe. Enjoy your Superbowl game.
I just made your braised pork ribs. OMG. It took me back to my childhood. It turned out so delicious. Thank you for sharing.
Sung, that is just so wonderful! I am glad that you loved it.
Wow……… These look like very good. I like this. Great recipe.
one of my favorite Korean food dishes. . looks absolutely delicious!
Oh wow, this looks so good!! I enjoy your final photos, but I look forward to seeing how you cook through step by step photos. I want to be in your kitchen!
I like the “Less Knife, Better Taste” motto! I always tear up herbs (like parsley) instead of cutting them for the same reason. Great dish – love the way it looks. Thanks for this.
Exactly! I don’t like to cut my lettuce with a knife either. I just tear them with hand. I think there is a scientific reason behind that.
I literally passed out with joy when I saw this post. I can’t wait to try it!!!
That is great, Serena. Hope you get to try this soon.
This does look delicious! I will need to shop for the ingredients, though. One question: is Korean bean paste the same as miso? Though I certainly do not mind buying Korenan bean paste, I have a few types of miso already and wonder if they are the same. Thanks for the great recipe.
Miso is milder. Doenjang is more pungent and robust. You can use the miso that is stronger and more pungent in flavor.
Dear Holly! I have to tell you that I visited Korea a little over a year ago for work, and came back home to London with a desire to start cooking Korean food. It’s your blog I found, that helped me learn. Your post on pantry essentials was what I went to the Korean supermarket armed with, ready to stock my cupboards. I first cooked your cola braised chicken for my family on Xmas eve 2012. I’m pleased to report that my Korean dishes have become a staple in our house and a huge favourite amongst our friends!
Thank you, for yet another mouthwatering recipe that I’ll be trying in the next few days!
Happy new year to you- and thank you again for everything you’ve done to inspire me- it’s changed the way we eat!!
Hi Micol, I remember hearing from you that you and your family enjoyed my cola braised chicken. It did make me happy. I appreciate for your sweet and thoughtful comment. One thing that motivates me to continue blogging is the reason which you wrote. It is my honor and happiness that my recipes can bring a joy to people. Thank you again and Happy New Year to you as well.