This spicy kimchi stew (kimchi jjigae or kimchichigae) is served bubbling hot and makes good use of leftover or older kimchi.
Fiery hot, hearty, and full of flavor, kimchi jjigae is great for cold winter days but Koreans can eat it anytime, anywhere ... and in fact, they do. It's one of the most popular stews in Korea, and is featured at many meals and in traditional restaurants.
There's just one thing to keep in mind when you're planning to make kimchi jjigae: It's spicy. Really, really spicy. Expect to sweat some, and make plenty of extra plain rice to counteract the hot factor. Kimchi jjigae is intended to be eaten slowly, with lots of rice as an accompaniment.
It's better to use older kimchi for this stew, since it will have a more pungent, richer flavor to lend to the other ingredients. Younger kimchi may not add that richness, although some people may prefer it.
There is a lot of room for variation in this dish, and everyone has their favorite combination. My favorite additions include potatoes, zucchini, and mushrooms. This recipe calls for using beef, pork or canned tuna. While it's possible to use both beef and pork in the same stew, you shouldn't combine beef or pork with any type of seafood in this dish. You also can consider adding glass noodles to your stew.
Serve this stew immediately after cooking with steamed white rice.
- 3/4 lb beef, pork, or canned tuna*, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 cups kimchi (the kind made with Napa cabbage), roughly chopped
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp kochujang
- 1 tbsp kochukaru
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 cups of water
- 1/2 block of tofu, cubed
- scallions, chopped
- If using beef or pork, saute in 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil in soup pot for a few minutes. If using pork, you can halve or omit the oil at this point.
- Add kimchi to pot and stir-fry for about five minutes.
- Add remaining oil, onion, garlic, kochujang, and kochukaru, mixing to combine.
- Pour water into the pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to simmer.
- Cook for 20-30 minutes, adding tofu after the first 10 minutes and scallions at the very end.
* If you're using beef, tenderloin is best, but you also can use tougher cuts like stew beef and simmer the stew longer. If you're using pork, then bacon, pork belly, or Spam work well. If you're using canned tuna, add it at Step 3.