1.301 The Kimchi Jjigae (with recipe)


2 (Tue) November 2010


by me

at home

-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Korea-

with the Family

With kimchi from The Kimchi Jjigae, I recreated the dish per KIT’s instructions.  The process is unlike, almost antithetical, to my own (see 1.027 Kimchi Jjigae + Pan-Fried Hairtail (with recipe)), yet infinitely better, perhaps the best that I’ve ever made, with a few personal adjustments.


  • 4 cups water
  • 400 grams of kimchi (NOTE: this recipe’s simplicity, which eliminates sauteeing the kimchi in sesame oil to intensify the flavors and thus results in a bright and light and refreshing broth, will only work if the kimchi itself is of the best quality; the restaurant’s stock is made by kimchi artisans in some countryside factory)
  • 100 grams pork (NOTE: whereas the restaurant uses the fattier (and cheaper) pork shoulder, I used the leaner (and pricier) pork loin, which I happened to have on hand; because the meat is cooked for just 5 minutes, just enough time for a trace of the pork flavor to permeate into the broth, the fat content is important only as a matter of preference when it’s eaten later on; any cut will do)
  • 100 grams tofu
  • 5 cm scallion (white part)
  • 1 TB onion
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • pinch MSG (NOTE: I did the before-and-after taste test, two samples just 5 seconds apart, sans MSG and avec – what a difference)
  • pinch red chili powder (NOTE: though it does contribute a bit of heat, it’s more for color than taste)

1.  In a pot over high heat, bring the water to the boil.

2.  Meanwhile, cut the kimchi + pork (NOTE: restaurant starts with large chunks of pork that are cut into pieces with scissors just prior to eating) + tofu into bite-sized pieces, slice the scallion julienne, grate the onion.

3.  Add the kimchi + onion + sugar + white pepper + MSG to the pot and boil for 10 minutes.

4.  Add the pork + tofu and boil for 5 minutes.

5.  Remove from the heat, garnish with the red chili powder + leek, season with salt if necessary (NOTE: the outcome of any kimchi jjigae will depend on the kimchi, some saltier than others, especially at different stages of fermentation; thus impractical to give a recipe for kimchi jjigae with precise measurements; it just takes experience to know how much seasoning is enough).

6.  Serve with steamed rice.

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