Authentic Pork Kimchi Stew (Kimchi Jjigae)
Kimchi jjigae, made with fatty pork, is indeed a classic version of Korean kimchi stew. This authentic recipe is popular in households and restaurants alike. For the best results, it is recommended to use well-fermented cabbage kimchi.
Kimchi and pork are a match made in heaven.
This simple kimchi stew recipe is a must-try if you have plenty of fermented kimchi that needs to be used up. The stew’s various flavors – warm, comforting, hearty, savory, and slightly tangy – make it a favorite of all who taste it.
Traditionally, kimchi jjigae is prepared with fatty cuts of pork, such as pork belly or pork shoulder. However, regional variations may incorporate different types of meat or seafood.
Classic Korean Stew
This classic Korean comfort dish evokes childhood nostalgia for many Koreans. It is a staple in Korean home-cooked meals, and people often make this stew regularly.
Considering the large quantities of kimchi consumed and stored in every Korean household, it is no surprise that leftover kimchi past its prime as a side dish can be transformed into something equally delicious.
A humble Korean stew uses affordable and readily available ingredients, including sour leftover kimchi, pork, and tofu. The instructions are easy to follow, and it cooks quickly. And, of course, it is both authentic and delicious!
Kimchi Jjigae Varieties
You can make this authentic stew in many different ways. The pork version would be the most common, but other varieties are also popular in Korean style home cooking.
- Pork kimchi stew (dueji kimchi jjigae): The standard version using fatty pieces of pork and tofu.
- Tuna kimchi stew (chamchi kimchi jjigae): People typically prepare this tuna version for camping trips because it is easy and portable – the ingredients don’t require refrigeration.
- Mackerel pike kimchi stew (kkongchi kimchi jjigae): Made with canned mackerel pike.
- Spam kimchi Stew: Using a can of spam makes another delicious stew in no time.
- Anchovy kimchi stew (myulchi kimchi jjigae): People in the southern part of South Korea traditionally make a classic version of this dish using dried anchovies and perilla oil.
- Fish cake kimchi stew (eomuk kimchi jjigae): Using Korean fish cakes and anchovy stock makes a uniquely mild and savory stew. My cookbook, Korean Cooking Favorites, shares a recipe, so check it out.
Tips for Making the Best Kimchi Stew
Kimchi jjigae is always tasty even if you mess it up. However, if you want to bring more flavor depth and umami to your stew, follow these tips below. You will get a best tasting jjigae of all.
- Use very old, sour cabbage kimchi – a great way to use up extra kimchi that’s been taking up space in the fridge.
- The fattier the pork, the better it tastes. Fat builds the flavor. I recommend using pork belly or pork shoulder with a layer of fat attached.
- Don’t skip the kimchi juice (or kimchi liquid). It has all the good taste in it and adds flavor and depth to the dish.
- A hint of Korean salted shrimp deepens the flavor of broth.
- Throw a few pieces of rice cakes in to thicken the stew broth. However, this is optional.
- Water vs anchovy stock as a soup base? Either one works. I found using plain water works better in pork kimchi stew, though. It maintains the natural flavor of pork better.
How to make Kimchi Stew (Kimchi Jjigae)
Step 1. Heat oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add pork belly slices and cook throughly. Add onion and garlic, and cook for 1 minute.
Step 2. Add Korean chili flakes and toss everything to coat.
Step 3. Add sliced kimchi, kimchi juice, water, and rice cakes (if using). Cover with a lid and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Step 4. Add salted shrimp snd Korean soup soy sauce and stir the stew. Taste the stew and season more with salt if needed.
Step 5. Add tofu slices and simmer for another 5 minutes. As a final step just before serving, garnish with green onion.
Enjoy while hot with rice and a few Korean side dishes. People often pair it with seasoned Korean roasted seaweed sheets(jomi gim, 조미김). You will find that many Korean restaurants serve this combo together.
Here are few Korean side dishes I suggest:
- Korean Spinach Side Dish (Sigeumchi Namul)
- Korean Dried Anchovy Side Dish (Two Recipes)
- Homemade Roasted & Dried Seaweed Snack
- Korean Bean Sprout Side Dish (Kongnaul Muchim)
- Korean Pan-Fried Potatoes (Gamja Bokkeum)
Storage and Reheating tips
You can store this simple stew in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, and its flavor will intensify over time. When reheating, simply heat it in a microwave or on a stovetop until it’s heated through.
If you enjoy Korean stews, check out these popular recipes:
- Soondubu Jjigae Recipe (Korean Soft Tofu Soup)
- Classic Doenjang Jjigae (Korean Soybean Paste Stew)
- Iconic Korean Army Stew (Budae Jjigae)
- Korean Spicy Pork Stew with Zucchini
- Spicy Korean Chicken Stew (Dakdoritang)
Tried this recipe? Please take a moment to leave a star rating & comment below. I love hearing from you, and it helps other readers, too.
Authentic Pork Kimchi Stew (Kimchi Jjigae)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/2 lb pork belly, sliced
- 1/2 medium onion, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 tbsp Korean chili flakes (gochugaru)
- 1 lb (450 g) sour kimchi, sliced
- 4 tbsp kimchi juice
- 2 1/2 cup (600 ml) water
- 5 piece rice cake rounds, optional
- 1 tsp Korean salted shrimp
- 1 tbsp Korean soup soy sauce (gukganjang), or Korean tuna sauce
- 1/2 lb (225 g) soft tofu, sliced
- 1 green onion, chopped
- pinches salt , to taste
- Heat oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add pork belly slices and cook thoroughly. Add onion and garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Add Korean chili flakes and toss everything to coat.
- Add sliced kimchi, kimchi juice, water, and rice cakes (if using). Cover with a lid and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add salted shrimp and Korean soup soy sauce and stir the stew. Taste the stew and season more with salt if needed.
- Add tofu slices and simmer for another 5 minutes. As a final step just before serving, garnish with green onion. Enjoy kimchi jjiage hot with rice and a few Korean side dishes.
wow i just came across this and i cant believe the comments are from a long time ago…hope yall r doin well
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.
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!
The recipe says 1/2cup of kimchi juice. Hope you like the stew!
thank i am very much interested to try make this stew kimchi i love to eat thank you very much ,,,HOLLY
Can you please let know how long can kimchee be kept in the fridge?
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.
that looks like a beautiful stew! i made korean gamjatang before, and would love to try more korean stews! yay and i have kimchee now, althought not as good as yours I'm afraid ):
I`m falling in love with your blue pot. With kimchi stew in it 😀 With this kind of weather, kimchi stew is the best!
LOVE your Staub! I have one in Grenadine. It really is true love.
While i'm not a huge fan of kimchee, your pictures are beautiful and I -really- like your blue pot, what is the brand of it?
What a funny story! hehe I love kimchi jjigae 😀 and love your step by step photos as always