Recipe: Pork Belly Kimchi Stew

You know what I love eating on a cold, miserable rainy day kinda evening?

Kimchi stew. It makes any rainy day instantly okay. But of course, if it’s cold and miserable outside, you won’t want to leave your comfortable, dry house. …So, I didn’t. I stayed home and made my own kimchi soup / stew instead and boyyyy, was it good! Too good not to share. First off – I am not very knowledgeable about Korean food, so this may not taste like the best kinda authentic stuff, but it’s damn well good enough for me, and I reckon I have pretty high (or snobbish, depends how you look at it) standards for food so I urge you to give this a go.

My favorite Korean foods are the BBQ meats, seafood pancake, and of course.. kimchi stews! Unfortunately, kimchi stews are quite pricey if you order it in a restaurant, and I never understood why. Soups must be one of the easiest and cheapest foods to cook at home. I love making soup. I love it even better when it’s hot and spicy kimchi stew! There’s something about kimchi that’s very appetizing. It’s crunchy, chewy, spicy, sour, and almost a little sweet… literally a burst of flavor in your mouth.

I felt compelled to share this recipe, because literally anyone can make it. I always hesitate to post recipes that are too complicated. For this pork belly kimchi stew, even a hopeless cook in the kitchen could throw these ingredients together in a pot, then magic happens!

Ingredients (4 serves):

  • 500g kimchi, with juice
  • 300g sliced tofu, firm or soft to your preference
  • 200g golden mushroms / your favorite asian mushrooms
  • 300g thinly sliced pork belly / you can replace this with, or add on beef slices or chicken meat
  • half a medium onion, sliced
  • 1 tom yam stock cube
  • 1 chicken stock cube 
  • 1 liter of water
  • a splash of sesame oil, black pepper & spring onions for garnishing
  • steamed rice or instant noodles to your preference

Directions: 

  1. Bring a medium pot filled with 1 liter of water to a boil, then pour in the kimchi, onions, tom yam and chicken stock cubes while stirring, then let the soup simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Taste test your soup at this point. If desired, water can be added to dilute the taste, or the soup base can be left to boil for a further few minutes to intensify the flavors. Kimchi stew is known for its very strong flavors.
  3. Once satisfied with the soup base, add into the pot your mushrooms, tofu and meat, cooking on medium to high heat for another 3-5 minutes, or until meat is properly done.
  4. If eating with noodles, I recommend turning OFF the heat, then adding your instant noodles to the pot, as it will cook very quickly and will continue to cook through as you are serving & eating it. Soggy noodles are awful, so be very careful with not overcooking them.
  5. Serve your kimchi stew very hot in a stone or thick bowl if you have one, and don’t forget to add your garnishing on the top! 

It’s such a simple recipe, but it’s the classic and fuss-free ones like this that I find myself going back to time after time. When you cook often enough, it’s not about what’s the best meal you can whip up for your taste buds…. it’s more like, “what delicious thing can I create with leftover ingredients in the fridge”, or “what if I only have 30 mins to prep and cook?!”  

I do like eating my kimchi stew with al dente instant noodles instead of rice, however, it’s important to note that if you’re having it with rice, you would want the soup to be thicker and more heavy on the flavors than if you were to be eating it with noodles. I used golden / enoki mushrooms, but really you can also add in shiitake mushrooms, shimeiji mushrooms and it’ll be absolutely wonderful. I just used whatever I had on hand that day, and that’s my style of cooking. If I had more meats, I would’ve also thrown in some chicken sausages and other random ingredients in there too.. have you heard of a Korean army stew before? ;) I like that concept of “anything goes”.. into this pot of soup. If you like it more spicy, throw in some cut chilli, and if you like it really sour like my boyfriend does, I recommend you adding vinegar for that extra acidic kick. I followed the recipe I’ve given above without adding anything extra, and I loved it the way it is. You can really decide to include, or omit any ingredients to your own liking for soups like these, because they’re so easy to handle and adjust!

There you have it: your own soul warming pot of kimchi stew!

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P.S – It’s come to my attention that some people have been re-posting or re-distributing my recipes online without my permission. This is quite dismaying to learn of. I only post original recipes from trial and error ways in my own kitchen, and I work hard to bring you guys interesting content for your enjoyment. So I hope you’ll have enough respect, or morals, to include a link back to this blog / post or insert due credit when sharing my stuff online. Thank you!