Kimchi Chigae (Korean Kimchi Stew)

Its -20 C outside, you can only see flurries of snow through your window and the heater is keeping your apartment warm enough that you need to wear your winter jacket while making hot tea.

This calls for…

The ultimate Korean comfort food, Kimchi Chigae. Basically a stew made from boiled kimchi, add the meats and extras you want, as long as the kimchi is in.

I typically don’t order this dish when I go out to eat Korean food unless its really cold outside. But in this case, I decided to try it out on my own just to see how I could match up against others I have tasted in Korean-deprived Canada.


1/3 pound pork belly, sliced thinly        1/2 small onion, sliced        1 1/2 cups kimchi, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced            1/2 cup kimchi liquid        2 cups water

1 teaspoon of grated ginger        1 tablespoons shaoxing wine (or mirin)

2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste)                2 teaspoons dengjang (or white miso)

2 teaspoons soy sauce

8 ounces silken tofu, sliced into cubes    2 scallions, thinly sliced    1 tablespoon butter


  1. Add pork belly to cold large dutch oven set over medium high heat. Once pork begins to get all bubbly and you can see the fat from it pooling in the pan, add the onions. Cook the onions until they start to turn translucent about 2 minutes. Add kimchi garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.
  2. Add kimchi liquid, water, shaoxing wine, ochujang, dengjang and soy sauce. Stir well and bring to a boil.
  3. Once its boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer. Add tofu and cook for 20 minutes, adjusting to maintain a simmer.

  4. Add green onions and butter. Stir the soup as carefully as you can. I used firm tofu and the tofu still ended up breaking apart but I personally like this. Serve immediatedly with rice.

It turned out much better than I expected, and better than some of the ones I’ve had at some Korean restaurants. I’ve had this on heavy rotation for a week, and I’m still not tired of it, makes my tummy full and happy every time (although it is slightly food coma inducing if you’ve been running on less than 6 hours of sleep…)

Brew a pot of barley tea and you have the Korean restaurant experience in your own home!

Recipe adapted from Serious Eats

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