Kimchi-jjigae (Kimchi Stew) is a staple in Korean homes and very popular in Japan.  I make this dish all the time- it’s super simple to prepare and hearty and delicious.  You can eat it as is or add white rice to it.  For a change of pace try brown or wild rice, or even quinoa!

Kimchi-jjigae is a Korean staple and very popular in Japan as well.  You can find kimchi-jjigae at most Korean restaurants and the ingredients are readily available at grocery stores.

To make kimchi-jjigae it’s best to use kimchi that is in juice or sauce- the sauce plays a key part in the recipe because it is used to flavor the soup.

Kimchi-jjigae is less salty than kimchi but also less spicy.  The hot pepper flakes add most of the heat.  I’ve got kids at home so I only use a teaspoon, but a tablespoon will yield a more “Korean-friendly” level of heat.

Kimchi-jjigae with rice added


Kimchi-jjigae, or Kimchi Stew, is a simple dish made with kimchi, red pepper, pork, garlic, green onions and tofu.  You can add additional vegetables for flavor-  squash, eggplant, corn and spinach are all good additions.  If the taste is not strong enough you might need to add a more sour kimchi or add some more pork to give it more body.  I advise first times to start with 1 tsp of red pepper and then go from there- it’s always easier to add more to suit your taste.  I recommend a Napa kimchi, and I like to use scissors to chop the kimchi up while it is in a bowl.  Kimchi can stain most cutting boards.

5 mins 25 mins Serves 4
PREP 5 mins
COOKING 25 mins
YIELD Serves 4


  • 2 cups kimchi cut into bite sized pieces
  • Juice or sauce from the kimchi – the more the better.
  • 1 chopped scallion
  • 1/4 lb chopped pork belly
  • 6 oz tofu, cubed
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 tsp hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 TBSP cooking oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 cups water (not shown)


  • Sauté Pork Belly and garlic in the cooking oil over medium high heat until meat is browned.

  • Add the kimchi, but do not add the juice yet.  Sauté for 5 more minutes until cooked through.

  • Add in the pepper flakes and soy sauce and sauté for two more minutes.
  • Stir in the kimchi juice and water.  Mix in well.  Bring to a light boil. Turn down to low heat.

  • Add in the tofu and stir lightly so the tofu does not break apart.  Add the sesame oil and green onions but do not stir.  Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

  • Uncover and serve with white or brown rice.  Top with additional green onion.  Add additional pepper to taste.  Mix in the rice if desired.


  • It’s best to use a kimchi with plenty of extra juice or sauce.  Save all of it to stir in with the liquid – you won’t be sorry.
  • The pork should be fatty- the fat in the meat adds flavor to the stew.


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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Tried your recipe yesterday (with sesame-flavored tofu instead of sesame oil) and it was easy to make and absolutely delicious – love the Korean style of hot 😋


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