Korean Food Fave: Kimchi Jjigae – a spicy, savory classic Korean soup made with tender pork shoulder and old, fermented kimchi. Add whatever you have on hand to this easy Kimchi jjigae soup recipe, and enjoy a comforting bowl on a cold night!
MOVING TO A NEW HOME, KEEPING YOUR FAVORITE MEALS
This post was originally written several years ago and I’m updating it today with new photos.
Continuing my Celebrating Korean Food posts: Here is Kimchi Jjigae. We’ll be moving into our new home soon and I cannot wait to cook in my new kitchen. The kitchen is where I find comfort and where I get to cook, create and feed my family.
As a child, it took me a while before I really appreciated Korean food and how spicy it was. I would dip my kimchi in water, to get all the seasoning and red pepper flakes off, before I would eat it and this drove my mom crazy. Madeline loves kimchi; she’s more into spicy foods than I was at her age. Phoebe is still timid with heat but I think she will get there eventually. Kimchi Jjigae is Paul’s favorite. This is so comforting on a cold day, or when you are feeling sick. In my opinion, this is Korea’s version of chicken noodle soup.
HOW TO MAKE KIMCHI JJIGAE – MY FAVORITE KOREAN KIMCHI SOUP
Anyone who buys kimchi has probably made this dish because you need really old, fermented kimchi for this Korean soup. The smellier the better. Just like kimchi itself, I didn’t enjoy eating Kimchi Jjigae (kimchi stew or soup) until a little later in my life. I know, I know. Now, I can’t get enough of it and this is one of my husband’s favorites. If you like kimchi and haven’t tried this, add this to your list. Now.
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE KIMCHI JJIGAE
- Sesame oil
- Pork shoulder – you’ll need to have this cubed in roughly 1/2 inch pieces
- Course salt and pepper
- Kimchi – the older and more fermented, the better!
- Fish sauce
- Soy sauce – I recommend low sodium
- Your choice of fresh kale or fresh spinach
- Green onions
- Cooked white or brown rice for serving
I love the balance between veggies and protein, and the spicy and deliciously pungent flavors in this stew. It’s one of those dishes that is so satisfying yet you just want more and more!
You can easily make this Korean comfort soup in less than an hour on the stovetop.
HOW TO MAKE KOREAN KIMCHI JJIGAE
- Heat a large soup pot on the stove on medium-high heat; then add sesame oil and allow to get hot for just a few seconds. To the hot oil add your cubed pork shoulder, generously season with the course salt and pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes – stirring often – until the pork is cooked through.
- Add chopped onion, kimchi, some of the kimchi juice, fish sauce, and soy sauce. Continue stirring.
- Next, add enough water to the pot to just cover the ingredients (should be about 4 cups), and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to a simmer, and allow to cook for 20 minutes while stirring occasionally – until the onion and kimchi have softened and the soup has begun to thicken. * Once your soup has started simmering, this is a great time to go ahead and make your white or brown rice if preparing fresh.
- Once the kimchi soup is slightly thick, stir in the kale or spinach, chopped tofu, and sliced green onions. Cover the pot, and continue to simmer on low for 10 minutes, and stir occasionally.
Serve the Kimchi Jjigae perfectly hot with rice on the side. You can add the rice to your soup bowl, or enjoy as a side dish! Today, I pan fried some tofu and used some of the pan fried tofu to garnish my dish and I loved it.
LOOKING FOR MORE SAVORY KOREAN SOUPS?
- Jjamppong: Spicy Seafood Noodle Soup
- Authentic, Spicy Korean Soft Tofu Soup (Soondubu Jjigae)
- Spicy Korean Chicken Stew
- Yukgaejang (Beef Brisket Soup)
- Duk Mandu Guk for New Year’s Day
- Galbi Tang (Korean Short Rib Soup)
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 lb. pork shoulder cubed; you can also use pork belly
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large onion coarsely chopped
- 3 cups coarsely chopped fermented (old) kimchi + some of the kimchi liquid/juice
- 3 to 4 cups water
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 2 handfuls kale or fresh spinach
- 1 package tofu cubed or cut into square pieces
- 5 green onions thinly sliced
- Heat the sesame oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the pork shoulder, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until browned and crispy, for about 10 minutes.
- Add the chopped onion, kimchi, kimchi juice, fish sauce and soy sauce and stir to combine. Add enough water to nearly cover the pork mixture (about 4 cups), cover, and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat and simmer until the onion and kimchi are softened and the soup is thick, about 20 minutes.
- Stir in the greens, tofu* and green onions. Cover the pot and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the greens have wilted and softened and to combine the flavors. Taste and season with more soy sauce if needed. Serve with white or brown rice.
So, will I have months of crappy, cold, rainy weather to look forward to? Probably. But at least I’ll have me some warm and comforting kimchi jjigae to cozy up with and enjoy. And that’s ok by me. I hope you enjoy!
Recipe adapted from the Kimchi Chronicles.
Give this recipe a try, and leave a comment to let me know what you think!