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Kimchi stew (Kimchi jjigae)

Kimchi is core to Korean cuisine and is used more than the standard condiment as part of the banchan spread. The oldest recorded history of kimchi is over 2000 years ago. It is used in fried rice, pancakes, and stews. Numerous varieties of kimchi exist, and over 200 kinds are made with different vegetables. The most common is cabbage, but radish, cucumber and other vegetables can also be fermented.

One of the advantages of using kimchi in a slow-cooked stew is that the harsh acidic flavour is mellowed and is a great way to introduce folks who have never had kimchi and Korean cuisine to this ingredient and flavours.

This is a mellow stew, the caramelized pork belly adds loads of oils and rich flavours to the broth. The kimchi mellows and the tartness is mild and pleasing. the stew is rich and full of flavours. This is perfect on those cold rainy days when you want comfort food.

Although this stew is made with pork, you can make a vegetarian version with just tofu and vegetarian stock or water.

This Korean cookbook is filled with an array of traditional recipes including soups, stews and of course many banchan. It opens up to me the world of Korean cuisine, one that I have so much to learn about. This cookbook opens the world of unique, and still being discovered by me, Korean cuisine.

For more recipes from this cookbook click here.


1 tablespoon roasted sesame seed oil

7 oz pork belly, cut into thin strips and bite-sized pieces

1 cup cabbage kimchi

1 tablespoon gochujang chilli paste

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoons ginger paste

2 teaspoons honey

1/2 cup kimchi juice

2 cups water or mutton stock

Gochugaru chilli flakes, as needed

Salt, as needed

A small block of tofu cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 zucchini, sliced into half moons

2-3 scallions, thinly sliced into circles

Heat the oil in a small pot and add the pork belly and kimchi. Fry on high heat till the pork belly has rendered its fat and is browned in spots.

Add the gochujang paste, garlic, ginger and honey and cook for 30 seconds. Add the kimchi juice and water and bring to a boil. Simmer sealed for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust spice with gochugaru chilli powder and salt as needed. Bring back to a simmer and cook till the meat is soft and tender, another 30 minutes or so. Taste for salt and spice and adjust as needed.

Serve hot topped with tofu and zucchini slices and rice.

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