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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 ^.~

36 thoughts on “Kimchi Jjigae Stew 김치 찌개

  • Ilan says:

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

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

  • 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?

  • 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…:/

    • 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!

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

  • I love your observations of immigrants 🙂 They are so true! I also grew up eating ‘canned goods’ (Spam, fried dace, corned beef, hotdog, sardines). Imagine if we ever fed our friends and kids those today! All hell will break loose! We, too, did a lot of stretching…like adding water to dish soap or shampoo to let them last longer…Hehehe…

    Anyway, delicious kimchi! My mom-in-law’s neighbours are Koreans and they even have a special fridge for their kimchi! Love ’em!

    • 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.

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


  • 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!!!

    • 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 =)

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

  • 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.

  • 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 🙂

    • 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!!!

  • marie says:

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

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

  • Amelia says:

    Hi my cute squishy chipmunk, 🙂
    I like your mention of organic gentlemen, indeed it’s hard to come by a real organic. It’s almost extinct like dinosaur. Being chased by dinosaur in your dream…. LOL

    Your KimChi look good, after so many decades now only I learn how to eat kim chi. 🙂

    Have a lovely day ahead, regards.

  • Joanne says:

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

  • 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!

  • idk says:

    all I know is dinosaurs rock!

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

    Choc Chip Uru

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