Chicken Kimchi Jjigae Soup, An Ultimate Cold Defense

Chicken Kimchi Jjigae Soup

What happens when you mix together two comforting soups? Culinary galaxies collide and wormholes of flavors are carved across dimensions. In other words, it is out of this world delicious. And quite possibly, an ultimate defense against colds and illnesses.

Chicken soup is for the soul and always a cold day’s rescue. There is good reason why mothers urge their offspring to indulge in chicken soup when feeling sick, down, or out. After all, chicken soup does have anti-inflammatory properties. Kimchi jjigae is a hearty Korean stew, and it is also for the soul. Kimchi jjigae takes the best of kimchi, the remarkable celebrity of spicy fermented cabbage, and throws it into a blistering hot, tangy, and utterly satisfying and multi-layered tastes with tofu, pork, seafood, and more. Elements such as unique bacterias (from the kimchi fermentation), ginger, and garlic are all strong combatants against the evils of sickness.

This recipe takes the best of both worlds. Using left-over chicken stock (I always have some stored in my freezer), this hybrid chicken kimchi jjigae soup is an utlimate winter dish. Typically, the soup base of kimchi jjigae uses either simple water or an anchovy-based broth. Replacing the traditional with an unctuous and rich chicken soup transforms the kimchi jjigae into something even more special and heart-warming. And all of this can be achieved in 30 minutes or less.

Chicken soup kimchi jjigae

Chicken Kimchi Jjigae Soup Recipe

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

  • 7-8 cups of chicken stock with shredded chicken meat (preferably loaded with ginger), warm
  • 3 slices of bacon, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Korean dried red pepper flakes
  • Kimchi (12 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 pound of tofu, diced
  • 4-6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup scallions,diced

First, let’s extract the porky flavors from the smokey bacon. I recommend using either a deep saute pan or a small soup pot. Render the bacon over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve the bacon fat in the pan. Immediately turn the heat up to high and toss in the butter, sesame oil, and the Korean red pepper flakes. Butter is a secret to making Korean cuisine even more tasty and modern

These will toast up together, allowing the sesame oil and pepper flakes to permeate the entire dish. Add the kimchi, along with the juices. Allow the kimchi to sear and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the brown sugar and mirin, which brings a subtle sweetness to the dish.

Spoon in the warm chicken stock with shredded chicken meat into the kimchi jjigae. Here is where the flavors really start building. Reduce the heat to medium and allow for the flavors to marry for 10 minutes. Add the tofu and have it warm through for another 5 minutes. When you are ready to eat, crack the eggs directly into bubbling soup. Place the lid on in order to capture some steam. The eggs will be a gentle and creamy soft-boiled consistency in approx 5 minutes. This is not typical in the traditional kimchi jjigae, but it steps up the soup and makes it even more velvety and rich.

This soup is made to be eaten with rice. Pour some of the chicken kimchi jjigae soup over rice and enjoy. Pure bliss.

Rendering bacon


Adding red pepper flakes, butter and sesame oil

Kimchi jjigae base with butter

Searing kimchi

Kimchi jjigae with chicken soup

Kimchi jjigae chicken soup without eggs

Kimchi jjigae chicken soup

Chicken kimchi jjigae soup




2 comments… add one
  • Eric Borzino Feb 13, 2013

    Thanks Rex! Lots of solid Korean spots in DC/Arlington. Making me miss home

  • Rex Feb 11, 2013

    Borzino — this looks incredible. Gonna cook some up this weekend.

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