One of a family favorite, this is one of the first recipes I had memorized because of how much my father has come to love it. He used to order it many times during our visit to our favorite Korean restaurants and his favorite was the one with the sliced beef and a lot of mushrooms. Seeing the face of calm and happiness radiating on my father from a single bowl of stew was an enough reason for me to start making it at home more often.
Since the pandemic started, I’ve made this more often due to the safety issues surrounding basically everything. I’m quite thankful that the ingredient for the stew itself is basically the essential pantry ingredients in an asian household, so all I need to do now and then is buy the fresh proteins and additional toppings and we’re good to go.
So what is Kimchi-jjigae?
Kimchi-jjigae or kimchi stew is a jjigae, or stew-like Korean dish. It is one of the most common stew in Korea, which main ingredient is kimchi and other ingredients participating in the stew can be a variety, with usage of proteins such as chicken, beef or seafood or even soft tofu and vegetables which is usually known as Sundubu-jjigae. There is also a non-kimchi based jjigae such as Doenjang-jjigae, referred in English as soybean paste stew, is a Korean traditional jjigae, made from the primary ingredient of doenjang. There is still so many other name for types of protein that is used in a jjigae but today I’m going to tell how I make Kimchi-jjigae with protein of sliced beef, tofu, and other additional ingredients.
This recipe was based loosely on a mix of recipe that I found online, I’ve modified it to my liking. I loose the onion, doubled the garlic and also added some fish sauce (this is optional but I find it gives a kick of umami to this stew). Other things I like to add out of the authentic kimchi-jjigae recipe is chopped birds eye chili, being an Indonesian I am basically obsessed with spicy food and I find hot and spicy one of the my favorite combo, so often when making this I chopped some to sprinkle on my individual bowl for that spicy bites in between.
Something that I find funny is that I’ve made this recipe so many times but I’ve only written it once on my notes in a jumble of words, that’s why I think it’s time to re-organize my recipes as well as starting to share here with you.
All in all, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and notes will be on the bottom of the recipe!
Recipe Card for Kimchi-Jjigae
yield: 4-5 people
- sliced beef (200-250 gr)
- garlic (3 clove)
- any kind of mushroom (1 pack)
- kimchi (200 gr) (use less juice in terms of reducing the sourness level)
- ssamjang (4- 5 tbsp)
- gochugaru (3 -4 tbsp)
- soy sauce (1-2 tbsp)
- fish sauce (1 tbsp)
- sugar (2 tsp)
- chinese cabbage ( 6 layer and chopped horizontally)
- dashi (1 1/2 tbsp)
- water (1 – 1,5 Litre)
- 1 1/2 pack firm tofu (cubed or messily chopped)
- 4 egg (depend on the people, 1 person 1 egg)
optional additional toppings:
- sesame oil (drizzle)
- spring onion (chopped)
- In a hot pan, sear off the sliced beef or protein of your choice, when browned, add your mushroom. Cook that off until slightly soften and add garlic, kimchi, and its juices.
- Next at your ssamjang and gochugaru, mix well and then add water to cover, mix well until all the ssamjang and gochugaru dissolved.
- After this you can add your Chinese cabbage, dashi, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, mix well and add salt if necessary.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking and preference, adding more if necessary.
- Now simmer until everything is cooked evenly (usually until the Chinese cabbage is soft).
- After that add tofu, then add eggs and other optional additional toppings. Do not mix it at this point to keep the eggs whole. cover to cook eggs and warm tofu around 3-4 minutes or until eggs are in your preferable cooked state.
- Serve hot with rice.
- For sliced beef I usually cut it into bite sized pieces as it works better and easier to eat in stews.
- If you’re afraid of the level of sourness the kimchi will give, you can use less of the juice. Kimchi juice tends to make the dish more sour, that’s why more kimchi means more sugar that needs to be added.
- Ssamjang and gochugaru depends on each other, so if you add 1 tbsp of ssamjang that means you have to add 1 tbsp of gochugaru too.
- For other option of stock powder other than dashi works too. (preferably chicken/vegetable)
- I recommend adjusting everything back to your preferences, I often need to use some of the seasoning more, in other times I don’t. For example, you feel that the sourness is still overpowering? add sugar, need more saltiness? add soy sauce or salt, not feeling enough of the ssamjang and gochugaru? add 1 tbsp at a time and taste it until it suits your palette.