Archive for May, 2018|Monthly archive page

Kimchi Jjigae: Korean ‘Seoul’ Food

In Recipes on May 1, 2018 at 6:00 am

Jjigae or stew, usually with the addition of gochujang and kimchi, is a very popular dish, in Korea. There are many variations on this stew but the one constant is that they all include the two ingredients mentioned above. Otherwise, the possibilities are endless.  One of the most interesting of the jjigae recipes is Budae-jjigae or ‘army stew’. A dish that was invented of necessity, in the areas adjoining US military bases after the end of the Korean war. Budae means troop or military camp and jjigae means that the dish is a stew and is thicker than guk (soup). Food was not easy to find in post war Korea so the locals scrounged army surplus supplies from the nearby US military bases. These were often tinned goods like Spam, hot dogs and other processed meats, along with baked beans and processed American cheese. They developed this into a hearty stew using local ingredients like kimchi, spicy pickled cabbage or other vegetables and gochujang, Korean chilli paste and gochugaru, Korean chilli powder to add flavour to the mix. This unusual combination is actually surprisingly good, I have eaten it here in Melbourne at various Korean restaurants. Usually it is a shared dish served in a hotpot in the middle of the table and the stew is spooned over rice in individual bowls. The kimchi jjigae I made recently was really easy and very good. I used sliced pork shoulder and added tofu towards the end, but you can substitute lots of other things including sliced beef, sliced mushrooms, the processed meats that make budae-jjigae, anything you like, the base ingredients are the same.

30412637_929920617132859_6053961067493588992_o Kimchi Jjigae


400 g kimchi, cut into bite size pieces

1/4 kimchi brine (the liquid that is in the kimchi jar)

500 g pork shoulder or pork belly (thinly sliced)

250 g firm tofu (sliced into 1 cm slices)

4 spring onions

1 medium brown onion (thinly sliced)

1 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp gochugaru

1 tbs gochujang

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tbs vegetable oil

2 cups anchovy stockor chicken stock


Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy based pan, stir fry the brown onion and the pork for a couple of minutes then add the kimchi and the kimchi brine. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Slice the spring onions diagonally and add them to the pot. Add salt, sugar, hot pepper flakes and hot pepper paste. Drizzle sesame oil over the top and add the anchovy or chicken stock. Cover and cook for 15 minutes over medium heat. Open the lid and mix the seasonings through, then lay the tofu over the top.


Cover and cook for a further 10-15 minutes over medium heat. Garnish with more spring onion and serve with rice.

Jigae 4

* Anchovy Stock


7 large dried anchovies

1/3 cup daikon radish (sliced thinly)

4 x 10 cm dried kelp

3 spring onion roots (washed)

4 cups water


Put the anchovies, daikon, spring onion roots and dried kelp in a saucepan. Add the water and boil for 20 minutes over medium to high heat. Lower the heat and simmer for another 5 minutes. Strain.