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Kimchi Jjigae

Korean Food Fave: Kimchi Jjigae - a spicy, savory classic Korean soup made with tender pork shoulder and old, fermented kimchi. *Alternatively you can pan fry your tofu and garnish the kimchi jjigae with the pan fried tofu.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dinner, Main dish, Soup
Cuisine: Comfort Food, Korean Food
Keyword: kimchi, kimchi jjigae, kimchi soup, koreanfood
Servings: 6
Author: Hip Foodie Mom


  • 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.


You can make this soup ahead of time, but I recommend waiting to add the greens, tofu, and scallions until you are ready to enjoy.
Cook the soup using steps 1. and 2., but then remove pot from the stove and allow the soup to cool entirely before pouring into an airtight container and storing in the fridge. When you're ready to eat, reheat the soup in a large pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Once it just starts to boil, reduce to a simmer and add the greens, tofu, and green onions, stir, and allow to cook for 10 minutes while covered.