Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)

I was fortunate enough this past Thanksgiving to receive a container of homemade cabbage and radish kimchi from one of my mom’s friends in Atlanta.  Although this meant making the 11 hour drive back to DC with a bucket of kimchi in the back seat,  it was well worth it.  Young’s kimchi was pungent with chili and garlic and was perhaps the best kimchi I have had the pleasure of eating.  This includes all of   the kimchi I sampled last year while in Seoul.  I’m still working on getting her secret recipe, but until then I will share one of my favorite recipes for using kimchi.

Whenever I have an abundance of kimchi I like to make kimchi Jjigae or stew.  This works particularly well with kimchi that you have had in your fridge for a while.  The more pungent and sour it is, the better.

Korean Kimchi Jjigae

Serves 4

2 tablespoons Sesame oil

1 pound thinly sliced pork belly (this also works well with thinly sliced beef sirloin)

2 tablespoons Korean chili paste

4 cloves garlic thinly sliced

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

3 cups cabbage kimchi coarsely chopped – liquid reserved

2 cups chicken broth

1 pound tofu chopped into cubes

5 green onions thinly sliced

  1. Toss meat with chili paste and garlic and let rest for 30 minutes so some of the flavors of the paste can infuse into the meat.
  2. Heat the sesame oil in a pan  over medium-high heat until hot and add pork and cook for a few minutes until the meat is browned.  Throw in the onions and briefly fry until the onions have softened a bit, the intent here is not to brown the onions but to let them soften a bit.
  3. Add the kimchi, including all the liquid to the pan and stir in chicken broth.  Let this mixture simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Add the tofu and let the mixture simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes to insure that the flavor from the kimchi has permeated the tofu.  Taste at this point for salt and pepper.  I find that it rarely needs additional salt as the kimchi tends to have enough salt.
  5. Remove from heat and garnish with sliced green onions.

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