Pork short ribs and sour kimchi makes this dish a one of kind country style rustic Korean stew. Korean soup soy sauce and a little bit of soybean paste is not to be missed in this recipe. Use very fermented sour kimchi (Mugeunji) for the best result.

Old fermented kimchi braised with pork ribs are served with rice and roasted seaweed.

Here is one recipe I would like to introduce you if you love Korean dishes made with kimchi. It is called Braised Pork Ribs and Kimchi (dueji galbi kimchi jjim, 돼지갈비 김치찜).

There is something about braised food in the winter time. Comforting, and almost earthy, they are what makes you crave when everything is frozen cold outside. And Korean food, especially Korean stew recipes, is not an exception.

Use of Old Sour Cabbage Kimchi (Mugeunji)

The kimchi I used in this recipe is called “mugeunji (묵은지)”. It is very old fermented cabbage kimchi.

If you go to restaurants that are famous for their dishes made with kimchi in Korea, most will use this Mugeunji to make their dishes extraordinary. Some Mugeunji is as young as 6 month old, and some can be older than 3 years.

Mugeunji kimchi is not ideal to eat as is. It is too potent and sour (sometimes bitter), it’s not enjoyable at all. However this old cabbage kimchi is not going to be thrown away. It is FABULOUS in the braised food.

Braised pork ribs and kimchi is cooked in a green pot.

So, you might think if you let your cabbage kimchi sit in your refrigerator for at least 6 month, it will turn into Mugeunji automatically. Well, chances are NOT. Mugeunji doesn’t come that easily.

The cabbages are salted more heavily than ordinary kimchi for longer storage purpose. It ferments very slowly.  It also requires certain level of consistent temperature and complete lockout of air. Well made mugeunji kimchi can hold its firm texture with deep fermented flavor for years.

If you store ordinary cabbage kimchi in the refrigerator, usually they taste the best right after it got fermented and hold its prime fermentation for another month or maybe two. However, usually after about 2 month, they become very acidic and mushy in the texture. Any longer it may even become alcoholic if your kimchi is not properly stored.

Traditionally Koreans keep their kimchi in earthen jars to keep in the outdoor, but these days many Korean household uses kimchi refrigerator to stock up their all different types of kimchi throughout the year. It keeps kimchi in the most ideal temperature to retain its taste and texture longer than ordinary refrigerator.

Anyway, since Mugeunji is so wonderful to use in braising dishes, you will find this recipe so delectable.

Braised Pork Ribs and Kimchi Recipe Instructions

Pork is perhaps the best partner to cook with kimchi, and cooking with pork ribs will maximize its potential. Long simmering will bring out the marrow from the bones and you will taste the best of what Korean kimchi can offer.

Mugeunji is a very old sour cabbage kimchi

Major Korean groceries carry this packaged Mugeunji . As you can tell the color of kimchi is not as vibrant as a result of its long fermentation.

If you can’t find this old fermented kimchi, use your ordinary cabbage kimchi but make sure it is very sour and potent (Keep it on the counter for a couple of days to speed up)

Soup stock made with dried anchovies, sea kelp, and ginger is strained.

Make a stock with anchovies, dried sea kelp and a few slices of ginger. Basically you boil them in a water first, then simmer for 15 minutes. Drain the stock and reserve about 2-1/2 cup to use in this recipe. Set aside.

Pieces of pork short ribs and in a package.

Here is handsome looking pork rib pieces.

Pork short ribs are soaking in water.

You want to soak them in the water for at least 1 hour to remove some blood.

Pork ribs are par-boiled in a pot of boiling water.

Then boil a pot of water and briefly cook the ribs for 3 minutes. This will get rid of major fat and unwanted gunk from the bones.

Rib meats are quite fatty and you want to reduce its fat amount before you add in the braising process to lower the fat intake. Drain the ribs and rinse with hot water. Set aside.

Korean soy bean paste, gochugaru, garlicm and other seasonings are combined.

In a mixing bowl, combine Korean chili flakes, soy bean paste (doenjang), Korean soy sauce for soup (gook-ganjang), garlic, sesame oil, rice wine (optional), and sugar. Mix well.

Par-boiled pork ribs are hand coated with Korean seasoning paste.

Dump the ribs into the bowl and coat them with the sauce.

Sliced onions are scattered on the bottom of pot

Spread sliced onion on the bottom of a heavy bottom braising pot (such as dutch or french oven).

Seasoned pork ribs are placed on top of onion slices.

Scatter the pork ribs on top…

A few heads of old Mugeunji cabbage kimchi are placed on top of pork ribs.

and cover with Mugeunji . No need to cut. Just put the whole thing as is.

Kimchi juice is poured on top of kimchi in a pot.

And don’t forget the kimchi juice inside of the package. It is precious like gold.

Anchovy sea kelp stock is poured on to kimchi and pork ribs.

Pour the reserved stock around…

Note: If your pot doesn’t have a heavy lid, you will need more amount of stock (extra 1/2-1 cup) to make-up for the steam evaporation.

A green lid is covering the pot of kimchi pork ribs braising dish.

Cover with a lid. Bring it just about to gentle boil over medium heat, then simmer over low heat for 1 hour.

It is a good idea to shake the pot gently once or twice so the liquid will sip through all the nooks and crannies.

Turning the simmered kimchi to the other side in the middle of cooking time.

Turn the kimchi to the other side and try to jiggle the ribs underneath so they get mixed in with onion.

Cover again and continue to simmer for another 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Chopped green onion and green chilies are added to the braised pork ribs and kimchi.

Lastly add green chili (I happened to have some jalapeños so I used them instead), and chopped green onion. Simmer 15 more minutes and you are done.

Pork ribs and kimchi are well braised in a pot and garnished with green onion.

Oh, boy! This is calling for a bowl of rice.

A piece of braised pork ribs and kimchi slices are served on top of rice and chopsticks.

The Mugeunji kimchi is so tender but retained its body, and the meat from the ribs is melting in your mouth. Oh, the flavor! I can’t describe in English, but I can tell you that I emptied out two bowls of rice with this.

You might wonder how you eat the whole piece of cabbage. You can cut it with a pair of scissor just like most Korean restaurants do.

But in my house? I use the most divine kitchen tool I own – my fingers. I just tear the cabbage with my fingers (my thumbs and index fingers).

My mother did this way with kimchi, saying “Kimchi tastes better when you tear them with fingers. Less knife, better taste”. I used to think it was so gross. But I now find myself doing the same action to my kids, saying the exact same words (but in English).

This is the winter comfort Korean dish made with kimchi on its best and it made me feel like as if I was dining in a small rural town of Korea. How nostalgic!

Braised pork ribs and kimchi is a great dish to use up the old cabbage kimchi
Old fermented kimchi braised with pork ribs are served with rice and roasted seaweed.

Braised Pork Ribs and Kimchi

Very old sour kimchi makes a delicious stew. Pork short ribs and kimchi are braised with Korean soup soy sauce and little bit of doenjang. It's a rustic Korean food.
5 from 1 rating

Ingredients

  • 2-1/2 lb pork short ribs
  • 2 lb old fermented whole cabbage kimchi (mugeunji)
  • 1/4 cup kimchi liquid
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp Korean chili flakes (gochugaru)
  • 1/2-1 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 rice wine, optional
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 green chili or jalapeño, sliced
  • 2 green onions, chopped

For the stock

Instructions 

  • Soak the pork ribs in a cold water for at least 1 hour. Drain. Bring the pot of water to boiling and add the pork ribs and cook for 3 minutes. This will remove some fat and the unclean debris from the bones. Drain the ribs and rinse them in hot water. Set aside.
  • For the stock, put anchovies, sea kelp, ginger in water and bring them to boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Cool and drain the stock reserving about 2-1/2 cups.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine Korean chili flakes, soy bean paste, Korean soy sauce for soup, garlic, sugar, rice wine, and sesame oil; mix well. Add the pork ribs and toss all together.
  • In a heavy bottom dutch oven pot, spread sliced onion on the bottom and top with pork ribs. Add the whole kimchi to cover the pork on top. Pour the kimchi liquid and the reserved stock over the kimchi.
  • Cover the pot with a lid and bring it on to medium heat to gentle boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Open the lid and turn the kimchi to the other side jiggling the pork ribs and onions underneath. Cover again and continue to simmer for another 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add the green chili and green onion to the pot and cook for 15 more minutes or so. Serve warm with rice.

Notes

If your pot doesn’t have a heavy lid, you will need extra 1/2-1 cup more stock to make-up for the steam evaporation.
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