Jjigae, or Korean stew

Kimchi becomes a great base for so many different recipes when it grows older! Kimchi jjigae (김치찌개) is the most popular dish made using aged kimchi. It's my all-time favorite stew and a staple in Korean homes! 

We often had just kimchi jjigae and a bowl of rice for dinner while we were growing up in Korea. I can't recall ever growing weary of it! This is a little pot of comfort food that will fill you up for a pleasant dinner, whether you prepare it to use up leftover kimchi or to sate a craving. 

You should always use completely fermented, sour kimchi when cooking with kimchi. The older, the better! Before using your kimchi, add a small amount of vinegar if you can't wait for it to go sour. While it won't taste as delicious as sour kimchi, it will be somewhat beneficial. 

If you find the kimchi too sour, try adding a teaspoon or two of sugar to the stew to counteract the sourness. 

In Korea, fatty pork is the preferred ingredient for kimchi jjigae, despite the wide range of variations. Fatty pork and kimchi are a match made in heaven, as I always say. 

Pork ribs are popular and tasty in kimchi stew, which is not surprising. Before cooking with kimchi, pre-boil the ribs for 20 to 30 minutes, or until they are moderately tender. 

If pork isn't your thing, use canned tuna or beef. There is also a canned tuna variation of this recipe. 

We also loved kimchi jjigae when we were kids; it's just kimchi prepared with anchovy broth and no pork. It gives the stew a fresh, pleasant flavor. 

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