If you never had Kimchi Jjigae or Korean Kimchi Stew I got to tell you this must be tried. I fully recommend it, especially now that cooler days are coming our way.
Heck! Even in the Summertime, this hits the spot. One important thing that you will need is a napkin and preferably two. Trust me on that one!
Therefore you might ask what is Kimchi Jjigae or Chigae? It’s hearty Korean Stew (jjigae) made with Kimchi (fermented Napa cabbage) which is precisely the star of this dish. The other ingredients are used up to the cook’s specific preferences.
Kimchi stew is most commonly cooked with more fermented or older/aged kimchi. It instantly creates a much stronger taste and deeper flavor, while new kimchi or less fermented does not bring as much flavor.
Anyhow, it was a late lunch, my kids still in school so Hubby and I were alone. I knew that the question would come soon or later: “What’s on the menu today?”
The moment I woke up I had this delicious spicy stew on my mind. Well, I had it on my mind for a week, but for some reason, I always skip Jjigae and go for kimchi ramen most of the time.
So, I was saving one container of kimchi for 4 plus months just for this occasion to make this stew.
Yes you heard me, I was saving it for months and I simply could not wait any longer. I kept telling myself, the stew had to be made and had to be made now.
I was laughing so hard when my husband screamed after the kimchi smell reached his nose.
Nevertheless, he wasn’t complaining when it was time to eat! He ate a full bowl of rice and reached for some more. It’s so excellent with colder rice…
If you are undoubtedly kimchi lover and love spicylicious food, this is positively 100 percent a stew for you.
Comforting, spicy, simple and delicious in any possible way that I could correctly describe.
If you are not sure how to make it and would sincerely like to see it, just YouTube it.
- ½ Lb. Pork Belly (READ the notes) Or 1 cup smoked Bacon
- 1/2 Tbsp. Garlic finely minced
- 1/2 Onion chopped
- 2 Cups Fermented Kimchi chopped
- 1 Cup Stock/chicken beef etc.
- 1 Cup Kimchi juice
- 1 cup of water
- 1 Tablespoon Red Hot Pepper Paste gochujang or to your taste
- ½ teaspoon Hot Pepper Powder gochugaru
- 2 Green Onions + green part for garnish
- ½ Pack Tofu cubed (soft or firm)
- Salt to taste and sugar to balance the spiciness of the stew
- Cut the pork belly into bite-size or 1-inch size. Discard the skin if any. You can use smoked bacon instead.
- Preheat deeper saute-pan/pot on medium-high and drop the bacon in. After a few minutes, drop in garlic and onion. Stir and let it cook for a few minutes.
- Chop fermented cabbage (kimchi) into bite-size pieces, and drop in the saute pan. Stir fry it for 2 minutes on medium-high.
- Pour in fermented cabbage (kimchi) juice, chicken stock, and water, then stir.
- Add red hot pepper paste, red hot pepper powder; Stir again and cook on medium-high temperature for 10 minutes/ After 10 minutes check if you need to add more liquid. Cover, and let it boil/cook for 5 more minutes.
- Add in the stew green onions, and cubed tofu -firm or soft.
- Garnish the stew with more chopped scallions, and chilies if you wish.
- Serve it hot and with rice and other banchan, known as Korean side dishes.
I am sure some of you don't eat pork. You can use instead: chicken, beef(ground also good), tuna or keep it meatless and use mushrooms as a sub.
The most authentic recipe I would say uses pork belly, but you are more than welcome to use whatever is your personal preference.
I like adding the pork, and smoked sausages or smoked bacon. It adds so much more flavor. If you are using anything other then bacon/pork belly, know that the cooking time will increase. Mushrooms are so healthy if you have any add them to this stew.
As for Tofu, you can use soft or firm, it's up to your likes, you will not go wrong either way, but it is optional. Also, you can add gochujang (hot pepper paste) and/or gochugaru (hot pepper powder/flakes) half the measurement that I added in the recipe if you cannot handle or tolerate spicy food. OR simply add a little bit at the time until you reach what you like.
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