Authentic Pork Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)
Kimchi Jjigae is a simple kimchi stew simmered with pork. This authentic Korean recipe is very popular in households and restaurants. Use overly fermented cabbage kimchi for the best result.
And this simple kimchi jjigae recipe is a must if you have a ton of fermented kimchi that you need to use up. The diverse tastes in this stew — warm, comforting, hearty, savory, and almost tangy — really bring out the love in all who try it.
Most commonly, pork kimchi jjigae uses fatty chunks of pork, such as pork belly or pork shoulder. Regional variations, however, can call for many different types of meat or seafood.
Vegetarian kimchi jjigae made with mushrooms is another, meatless way to enjoy this delicious stew.
Kimchi jjigae (김치찌개) is a classic. For all Koreans, it brings a nostalgia of childhood. It’s a staple of Korean home cooked meals and people make this stew on a regular basis.
Considering how much kimchi is eaten and stored in every Korean home, it is no surprise that something must be done with the kimchi that has gone beyond its prime time for serving as a side dish.
This humble Korean stew is made with inexpensive ingredients like the sour leftover kimchi, pork and tofu. It’s affordable for everyone. The instructions are easy to follow and it cooks quick. And it’s authentic and delicious, of course!
Kimchi Jjigae Varieties
You can make kimchi stew in many different ways. Kimchi jjigae with pork would be the most common, but other varieties are also popular in Korean style home cooking.
- Pork kimchi stew (dueji kimchi jjigae): This is the standard kimchi stew using fatty pieces of pork and tofu.
- Tuna kimchi stew (chamchi kimchi jjigae): Canned tuna comes in handy for this stew. Tuna kimchi jjigae is typically prepared for camping trips because of its ease and portability (no refrigeration needed for the ingredients).
- Mackerel pike kimchi stew (kkongchi kimchi jjigae): This is made with canned mackerel pike.
- Spam kimchi Stew: Using a can of spam makes another delicious Kimchi stew in no time.
- Anchovy kimchi stew (myulchi kimchi jjigae): This is a classic kimchi stew from the southern part of South Korea that is made with 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.
Recipe Tips for rich tasting pork kimchi jjigae
Kimchi stew 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 depth to your jjiage.
- A hint of Korean salted shrimp deepens the flavor of kimchi jjigae
- 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 pork 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.
What to eat with kimchi stew
Enjoy kimchi jjiage hot with rice and a few Korean side dishes. Typically, seasoned Korean roasted seaweed sheets (jomi gim, 조미김) are often paired with kimchi jjigae. You will find that many Korean kimchi jjjigae 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 Zucchini Banchan (Side Dish Recipe)
- Korean Pan-Fried Potatoes (Gamja Bokkeum)
Other popular Korean Jjigae
If you enjoy Korean stews, these recipes below are a few of well known 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)
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Authentic Pork Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)
- 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 sour kimchi, sliced
- 4 tbsp kimchi juice
- 2 1/2 cup 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 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.