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.

Kimchi jjim and pork ribs in a pot.

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 braising of the pork ribs allows the marrow to be extracted from the bones, resulting in the ultimate taste experience of Korean kimchi.

A plate of kimchi jjim with pork ribs served with rice.

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.

Aged whole kimchi (mugeunji) for kimchi jjim.

Mugeunji (묵은지)

Mugeunji 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.

Mugeunji is a very old sour cabbage kimchi

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:

Holding up a piece of braised kimchi above the kimchi jjim.

Tips to make good kimchi jjim

  1. 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.
  2. Pork ribs are commonly used for this recipe, but pork shoulder or other fatty parts of pork can also work well.
  3. 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.
  4. For an extra kick of flavor and spiciness, add green chilies towards the end of cooking.
  5. 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. 

Vegetarian option

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.

Ingredient list

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. 

A bowl of rice topped with pieces of braised kimchi jjim and a pork rib.

Serving tips

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

A pot of kimchi jjim is showing braised kimchi and pork ribs inside.

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.
5 from 3 ratings

Recipe Video

Ingredients

For the stock

Instructions 

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!

Notes

Note 1. 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. 
Note 2. For vegetarians, substitute the meat with your favorite protein alternative and a flavorful sea kelp stock.
Calories: 650kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 35g, Fat: 50g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g, Monounsaturated Fat: 18g, Trans Fat: 0.4g, Cholesterol: 159mg, Sodium: 1756mg, Potassium: 935mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 865IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 134mg, Iron: 8mg
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