Spam kimchi jjigae is the easiest kimchi stew you can make.  Sour kimchi, a can of Spam, onion, chicken stock, and tofu (optional) are all you need. Just dump them in a pot and simmer until soft. It makes a delicious and comforting Korean stew to serve with rice.

A bowl of kimchi jjigae made with Spam is served with rice and roasted seaweed.

Kimchi jjigae (김치찌개) is agreeably the most common Korean stew. The classic kimchi stew made with well fermented sour kimchi, fatty pork, and tofu is an indomitable of Korean home cooking

But when it comes to the simplicity of all kimchi jjigae with a big flavor, this Spam kimchi jjigae rises to the top. It basically is a kimchi stew made with a can of Spam. 

With a handful of ingredients that are easily accessible, this will become a satisfying dish when you are in the mood for a quick home cooked Korean stew – with little time and effort to prepare.

Kimchi jigae made with Spam and tofu are served in a pot.

Spam in Korean home cooking

Apparently South Korea is the second biggest consumer of Spam. Spam became a king of canned foods in Korea. 

You will find large gift boxes full of Spam circulating in the stores of Korea during Chuseok and the Lunar New Year. The maker of Spam, Hormel, has discovered that the half of its yearly Spam sales occur during those Korean holidays. Interesting, isn’t it?

As a Korean kitchen staple, Spam is a key ingredient for making  Korean army stew (Budae Jjigae), or widely used in Spam fried rice recipe

Ingredients to make Spam kimchi jjigae are presented.

Ingredients for Spam kimchi jjigae

All you need is 4-5 common ingredients that you can easily find. I like to add chunks of soft tofu in the stew because I just love the silky texture the tofu adds.

  • Kimchi – make sure to use well fermented cabbage kimchi for deeper flavor
  • Onion – adds sweetness and savoriness
  • Spam – use low sodium
  • Kimchi juice – it’s a liquid contained in the kimchi. It adds robust kimchi flavor to the stew. Too much can be overpowering, though.
  • Chicken stock – a base for the stew. Use low sodium.
  • Tofu – optional, but recommended. Use soft tofu. It absorbs the flavorful stew broth and becomes savory. It also provides delightful texture contrast.

FYI, Spam kimchi jjigae is also famous as a camping food since the ingredients don’t need to be refrigerated – except tofu, which is optional.

Before you get started

Here are a couple of recipe tips:

  • If your kimchi is too sour, add 1 teaspoon of sugar to balance out the acidic taste.
  • Add 1/2 tablespoon of Korean chili flakes (gochugaru) to jjiage to add more heat and red color  if you prefer more intense spiciness in the stew.

How to make Spam kimchi jjigae

Kimchi juice is added to kimchi and onion mixture in the pot.

In a soup pot, put onion and kimchi and toss together. Pour kimchi juice (liquid from kimchi) over. If your kimchi is too sour, consider adding a little bit sugar (about 1 teaspoon) to neutralize the acidity.

chicken stock is added to the kimchi onion mixture in a pot.

Pour chicken stock over enough to cover kimchi and onion in a pot. Bring the stew to boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low. Cover with a lid and simmer for 10  minutes until kimchi gets tender.

Spam slices are arranged on top of kimchi jjigae.

Arrange Spam slices on top. Cover with a lid and simmer for 10  minutes until kimchi gets tender.

Tofu slices are added and the stew gets simmered again.

Add tofu slices and simmer the stew again for another 5 minutes or until everything is soft and all the flavors are mingled. Garnish with chopped green onion at last. Serve the stew hot with rice.

Different types of kimchi stew

Here are a few different varieties of kimchi stew recipes. Check these out and see which one would be your favorite kind.

Spam kimchi jjigae is wrapped with roasted seaweed and served over rice.
A bowl of kimchi jjigae made with Spam is served with rice and roasted seaweed.

Easy Spam Kimchi Jjigae

Spam kimchi jjigae is the easiest kimchi stew you can make.  You will only need just a few ingredients to make. Just dump them in a pot and simmer until soft. Serve this comfort stew with rice.
5 from 1 rating

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 lb fermented cabbage kimchi, diced
  • 3 tbsp kimchi juice (kimchi liquid), see note below
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cup chicken stock , low sodium
  • 1 can (12 oz) Spam , low sodium, sliced
  • 1/2 lb soft tofu, sliced, optional
  • 1 green onion, to garnish, optional

Instructions 

  • In a soup pot, put onion and kimchi and toss together. Pour kimchi juice (liquid from kimchi) over.
  • Pour chicken stock over enough to cover kimchi and onion in a pot. Bring the stew to boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low. Cover with a lid and simmer for 10  minutes until kimchi gets tender.
  • Arrange Spam slices on top. Cover with a lid and simmer for 10  minutes until kimchi gets tender.
  • Add tofu slices and simmer the stew again for another 5 minutes or until everything is soft and all the flavors are mingled. Garnish with chopped green onion at last. Serve the stew hot with rice.

Notes

Tip 1. If your kimchi is too sour, add 1 teaspoon of sugar to balance out the acidic taste.
Tip 2. Add 1/2 tablespoon of Korean chili flakes (gochugaru) to the jjiage to add more heat and red color  if you like it more intense spiciness in the stew.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @beyondkimchee on Instagram. I love to see your masterpiece.