K is for Kimchi

Kimchi jjigae simply means “kimchi stew.” Cabbage kimchi is a fermented dish that is served with almost every Korean meal. Kimchi is a great probiotic that adds vitamin A, vitamin B, calcium, iron. The fermentation process makes kimchi a great probiotic that helps to keep your intestinal flora healthy.

During the winter, I make this dish about once a week. I recommend buying kimchi from your local Asian market as these stores tend to have cheaper, better quality kimchi than what you find at a supermarket chain. You can also make your own kimchi with the Easy Kimchi recipe below.

If the process of making your own kimchi seems daunting at the moment, there is a local (Orlando) restaurant I recommend where you can try it.  The kimchi tots at King Bao in Orlando are quite yummy.  The national chain of P.F. Chang’s also has an interesting version of kimchi that you can ask for on the side of most dishes.

Easy Kimchi


  • 6 pounds napa cabbage
  • ½ cup salt
  • 8 diagonally sliced green onions
  • 1 cups Asian chives
  • 2 cups matchstick cut Korean radish
  • ½ cup matchstick cut carrot


  • 3 cups water
  • ½ sweet rice flour
  • 2 Tbsp turbinado sugar or brown sugar if you can’t find turbinado

Kimchi paste:

  • Cold porridge see above
  • 1 cup fish sauce
  • 2.5 hot pepper flakes “gochugaru” = 고추가루
  • 1 cup crushed garlic
  • 1-2 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • ***Optional: ¼ fermented salted shrimp saeujeot, chopped


Step 1: Prepare the cabbage

  • Cut cabbage into quarters, remove cores. Chop cabbage in to bite size pieces. Soak in cold water. Sprinkle salt over the cabbage and water.
  • Soak for a total of 1 ½ hours.
  • Every 30 minutes, mix cabbage to evenly distribute salt.
  • After 1 ½ hours, rinse cabbage thoroughly to remove salt. Drain cabbage, set aside.

Step 2: Prepare the kimchi paste

  • In a small pot, mix together 3 cups of water and ½ cup of sweet rice flour. Mix well and bring to a boil.
  • Add ¼ cup sugar. Stir in, cook for a few more minutes until the mixture is translucent. Allow mixture to cool before proceeding.
  • Add mixture to food processor or blender.
  • Add 1 cup fish sauce, 2.5 cups hot pepper flakes, 1 cup crushed garlic, 1-2 Tbsp minced ginger, 1 cup minced onion. Blend until well combined.
  • Pour the well combined mixture in to a large bowl. Mix in green onions, Korean radish, carrot, and Asian chive.

Step 3: Combine paste and cabbage

  • Add cabbage to paste mixture. Mix thoroughly.
  • Pour mixture in to gallon size (or 2 gallon size bags if you can find it)
  • Put filled bags in air-tight plastic container or large glass jar.


Read through all of the steps before you start. Steps 1 and 2 overlap slightly.
https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/easy-kimchi https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/tongbaechu-kimchi

Kimchi Jjigae (김치찌개)

Servings 2 servings


  • 2 cups fully fermented kimchi cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 0.5 lb pork belly sliced in to bite sized pieces
  • ¼ cup kimchi “juice” if there’s enough in the jar to spare
  • ½ white onion chopped
  • ½ block tofu cubed (medium or soft depending on your preference)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ tsp fresh ginger minced
  • 1 Tbsp gochujang Korean hot pepper paste***
  • 1 Tbsp gochugaru Korean chili flakes***
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 green onions sliced
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 cups beef chicken, or vegetable broth


  • In a cast iron pot (or large soup pot) on medium heat, sauté pork belly in ½ Tbsp sesame oil for a few minutes.
  • Add kimchi to pot, stir fry for 5 minutes
  • Add remaining oil (1/2 Tbsp), onion, garlic, gochujang, gochugaru, and soy sauce. Mix to combine.
  • Pour broth in to pot, turn heat to medium high to bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes, add tofu, simmer for an additional 10-20 minutes.
  • After cooking, add scallions as a garnish.
  • Serve with steamed rice.


For vegetarian/vegan kimchi jjigae: Replace pork belly with shiitake mushrooms Substitute vegetable broth for chicken or beef broth ***If you do not like spicy food, cut down the gochujang and gochugaru to your taste. Start with 1 tsp of each and add more until you read desired spiciness***

Image of woman short brown hair with glasses Guest blogger:  Shelley Palmer is a senior Food and Nutrition major at The University of Alabama. She aspires to become a Registered Dietitian working in long term geriatric care. As a military spouse, she has traveled all around the world with her husband. Shelley enjoys making kimchi from scratch, spending time with her dogs, and working as a cook at a Continuing Care Retirement Community.

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