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Kimchi Jjigae Stew 김치 찌개

Kimchi jjigae is a quintessential Korean dish, made to bring together leftovers for a bright, bubbly and comforting stew.

Kimchi Jjigae

Many immigrants, along with my parents, arrived breathlessly in the States with little more than a dream in their left pocket and a photo of all their loved ones they’d left behind in the other.  Thrust in a strange land with no established ground, it wasn’t exactly like they were dining on steak and potatoes upon arrival.  Often times, meats lined in tin cans served as the main protein in our household.  Spam, vienna sausages, tuna?  We had it all and my folks had a knack for making things stretch and taste delicious.  I attribute my resourcefulness to them.  We never threw anything away, most certainly not food.  This jjigae (stew), is a vibrant marriage of old kimchi, scraps of veggies, and whatever potted meat that had been left lonely in your pantry.  It’s the quintessential casserole of sorts, if you will.  For me, it’s comfort food.  It’s food that reminds me of growing up with my siblings, having simple meals with the family, and enjoying moments that were homegrown, uncomplicated and richly rooted in tradition and culture.

This kimchi stew is precisely all of those things.  Also, it’s fast and easy…and delicious!  If you haven’t explored Korean cuisine beyond Korean bbq, it’s time to give kimchi a try.  It’s as essential to Koreans as the rice we enjoy it with.  Kimchi jjigae would be a solid place to begin as it softens that sharp bite that raw kimchi can have and when rich flavors like seafood or meat lend itself to the soup, it certainly becomes more palatable if you’re unfamiliar with kimchi.  Whether you decide you have a love or hate relationship with kimchi, kimchi is so all important that it’s definitely worth investigating.  For those kimchi lovers out there, may I present to you one of the most classic, delicious, and easy kimchi recipes that exist, kimchi stew.


5.0 from 4 reviews

Kimchi Jjigae (with Tuna)
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


Recipe type: Soup/Stew
Cuisine: Korean
Serves: 3-4 Servings

  • 4 strips of thick cut bacon
  • 2 ts minced garlic
  • ½ tb Korean pepper flakes
  • ½ sliced onion
  • 1 c roughly chopped well fermented kimchi
  • 1 can tuna (packed in olive oil)
  • 1½ c water (or chicken broth) + 1 c kimchi broth
  • ¼ block of cubed tofu
  • Green onions (to scatter)
  • Optional: Glass noodles

  1. Fry your bacon.
  2. Stir in your onion, garlic, and pepper flakes.
  3. Add your kimchi and allow it to soften a bit.
  4. Tumble in your tuna.
  5. Tip in your liquids. Allow it to bubble.
  6. Top with tofu and sprinkle with lots of green onions.

Additionally, you could boil this together with pork neck bones, brisket, seafood (really anything you’d like).

Love & lots of Kimchi!

Your Squishy Monster ^.~

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36 thoughts on “Kimchi Jjigae Stew 김치 찌개

  • Choc Chip Uru says:

    AAAAH you met an organic gentleman!!!!! That’s just exciting :)))
    Love your kimchi dish today!

    Choc Chip Uru

  • The Squishy Monster says:

    You’re like the road runner, uru! =)

  • idk says:

    all I know is dinosaurs rock!

  • The Squishy Monster says:

    even big purple ones? =)

  • Veronica says:

    So funny you mentioned your crazy dream, as my TT today is (will be) on dreams. I have wanted to make my own kimchi for years and knew it would be good if I made it but I just haven’t got the courage yet. I know it’s not complicated, I think it’s just that it’s something I’ve never done and it feels like such a huge undertaking to face something so unfamiliar. I finally got to try good kimchi at a restaurant (before I only tried jarred stuff which I did not like) and I’m in love. I knew it would be good if done right. This soup sounds sooo so good and healthy too!

  • Joanne says:

    I LOVE the super crazy intense flavor of kimchi! so I have a feeling I’d absolutely adore this!!

  • Amelia says:

    Hi my cute squishy chipmunk,

  • yummychunklet says:

    Kimchi is awesome!

  • TreatsTrinkets says:

    It’s always the little things that are the most amusing. That kimchi dish looks amazeballs

  • marie says:

    Not sure if I am a fan of Kimchi, but definitely a fan of polite gentlemen.

  • The Squishy Monster says:

    lol—yes, yes.

  • The Squishy Monster says:

    Thanks, Kim!

  • The Squishy Monster says:

    I think I’ll turn into Kimchi I eat it so much, lol

  • The Squishy Monster says:

    Crazy dream, huh? I’m happy to hear you enjoy it now! =) Have a wonderful week, Amelia!

  • Suzie says:

    I laugh about goofy stuff all the time. In fact I’ll tell you one I was texting my daughter-in-law the other day (verbal texting by the way). I meant to write “Would your son like one of those fake dogs that look likes it breathing?” Well, breathing came out as freezing and I could not quit laughing. I still think it’s hilarious…lol!! The stew looks and sounds really good. I see kimchi on Food Network all the time and it looks so good. I really do have to try it

  • Lester says:

    A wonderfully delicious sounding recipe Angie. I had something similar last year . It was GREAT@@@ YUMM@@

    There are a few of us gentleman left. Along with a few Ladies like you Angie that appreciate us and do not think we are being sexist or have a hidden agenda 9 THANK YOU. Dear Lady) Pass the good word lol, please?

    Have a great day Angie.

  • The Squishy Monster says:

    Love Kimchi Jjigae, especially on cold nights =)

  • Cass @foodmyfriend says:

    Nom nom nom! So many flavours. Something I think i’de have to taste to imagine!

  • hui says:

    you’re funny, squish ^^ and why do you do this to me? you’re killing me! i’ve been craving kimchi jjigae with tuna again, but there’s someone in the house who can’t take fish.. so it’s off-limits for the time being! this is too cruel!!!

  • Red Tag Chic Los Angeles says:

    That’s so hilarious Angie….overt chivalry!!!! And kimchi has lately becoming a favorite of mine.


  • jen laceda | tartine and apron strings says:

    I love your observations of immigrants

  • The Squishy Monster says:

    bring dessert, I’ll bring the spicy =)

  • The Squishy Monster says:

    My auto correct goes a bit nuts too sometimes and I often send things that are way inappropriate but I laugh about it later so it serves as a daily comedic reminder, I suppose =) I love that you and your daughter in law are close though, I bet you’re a rockin’ mom-in-law!!!

  • Julia | says:

    I love kimchi! This dish with tuna looks lovely! I can almost feel the heat from the spices!

  • LinsFood says:

    Must have been a T-Rex! You see, despite being very familiar with vicious dinos of all kinds, thanks, to my ds, I refrained from showing off and went for dear old Rex! Mmm, or did I just show off?! Can I do a chicken here instead of tuna?

  • Sandra (@SECooking) says:

    What a well written post…So true in every aspect from gentlemen to immigrants.
    And Kimchi…I think that I am totally and absolutely hooked on Kimchi. Have to have it in my fridge and made it several times both napa and cucumber. Love it! Speaking on hooked on..I am hooked on your videos..I am loving them too. You are so natural! Now i am hungry…:/

  • Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic says:

    My mom makes kimchi fried rice with tuna, and this post is making me crave for it!

  • The Squishy Monster says:

    Chicken would be delicious in this!

  • The Squishy Monster says:

    lol, thanks Sandra! I love kimchi in all forms (though perhaps I’m a bit biased, lol). Thanks so much for watching, Sandra!

  • The Squishy Monster says:

    On dull days, Kimchi Jjigae, really boosts your mood too.

  • The Squishy Monster says:

    I hate to admit it, but spam still holds a nostalgic place in my heart…imagining such reactions today makes me LOL. It’s something I would never consider giving my kids but for you and me, we ate so much of it, I wonder how I developed properly, haha.

  • The Squishy Monster says:

    Yay! I’m glad to hear it =)

  • The Squishy Monster says:

    my bff hates canned tuna, but for me, it’s such an essential pantry staple…it waits so patiently for you and is such a great, economical and quick meal on the go. I’ll be sure to save you some net time =)

  • The Squishy Monster says:

    oooh, another fave =)

  • Ilan says:

    I love kimchi so much.. it’s so delicious.

  • The Squishy Monster says:

    Me too…we should make a “I love Kimchi club”

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