Heartwarming Chicken & Tofu Kimchi Jjigae
Kimchi Jjigae is one of my favourite stews to savour and enjoy. It has the sourness and spiciness that reminds me of Tom Yum soup, yet distinctive flavours that pertain to Korean cuisine. In a Korean restaurant, I would always order a serving of Kimchi Jjigae to enjoy with my meal.
For this recipe, I’ve used chicken breast meat and slices of tofu for protein. They are allowed to simmer until cooked, making them tender and tasty. Substituting water with chicken or seafood stock would add a depth of taste compared to water.
Although it’s not the authentic and traditional kimchi jjigae, this recipe is enough for my Korean food fix – and it brings the family together for a lovely, warm meal.
Chicken & Tofu Kimchi Jjigae Recipe
Although kimchi is necessary for kimchi jjigae, another equally important ingredient is Korean Chilli Paste, or “Gochujang”. The combination of both these ingredients really gives that savoury, notable flavour that I enjoy in the gravy.
I’ve used chicken, but other white meat like pork would work for this recipe too.
Marinate the chicken breast meat evenly with salt.
Next is the easiest part. In a deep pan, spread the chicken slices, sliced yellow onions, red and green chillies around the pan. Make sure they are layered evenly. We put the chicken closest to the heat at the bottom of the pan as they take the longest to cook.
After the meat and vegetables, pour in the seasonings and herbs: light soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, white stems and some green leaves of spring onions, Korean chilli paste (Gochujang), and kimchi. Make sure that they are distributed as evenly as possible, forming distinct layers.
Pour in all the water, being careful not to splash or spill any. It is okay if some of the seasonings of the kimchi and Korean chilli paste are mixed with the water. Then, switch on the heat, cover the pan and bring the water to a rolling boil. With the amount of food and water, this should take about 8 minutes.
After 8 minutes, the kimchi stew would be nice, hot and boiling. This is good as the chicken slices at the bottom of the pan have started to cook. Open the cover and gently mix the remnants of the Korean chilli paste with the gravy until it is all well-combined.
I’ve chosen not to mix it vigorously to keep the kimchi firm and crunchy for later. This also helps with cooking the chicken at the bottom layer. Cover the pan and allow it to boil for another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, we can now gently rinse the soft tofu. Then, cut it into 1cm blocks in thickness and set it aside.
After 10 minutes, the chicken should be nice and soft. Open the cover and give it a gentle stir. Taste and adjust if needed. Once you’re happy with the taste, give it a last mix before adding the sliced tofu onto the kimchi jjigae.
With a ladle, scoop up some gravy and pour it over the tofu. Cover the pan again and let it continue to boil for another 3 minutes. This should be enough for the tofu to cook. Once the tofu is added, I don’t recommend stirring the gravy anymore as soft tofu breaks easily into pieces.
For aesthetics, it would look very appetising and inviting if the tofu are all intact.
After 3 minutes, the tofu is cooked, and the kimchi jjigae is done. Switch off the heat, and garnish with some leafy parts of the spring onions. It is now ready to be served!
This kimchi jjigae is sour-tangy, with delicious spiciness unique to the Korean chilli paste. Drinking the gravy gives me a warm feeling. The kimchi itself is still firm and slightly crunchy, while the chicken slices are tender and very tasty. This meal goes so well with fluffy white rice, and a delicious serving of kimchi hehe.
It can be kept at room temperature for a day, and once cooled, it can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. To reheat, just add it to a pan and simmer until it comes to a rolling boil. After a day or two, the gravy would have matured and developed a nice depth of flavour from the kimchi.
Kimchi Jjigae Recipe with Chicken and Tofu
- Frying Pan
- Soup Ladle
- 300 g kimchi
- 180 g chicken slices, chicken breast
- 1 block pressed tofu, cut to blocks of 1cm in thickness
- 400 ml water
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 80 g yellow onion, sliced thinly
- 1 red chilli
- 1 green chilli
- 2 stalks spring onions, slantingly into 1/2 inch length with the white stems and the leaves separated
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ½ tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp Korean chilli paste
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- ¼ tsp sesame oil
- Marinate the chicken slices with salt until well-combined.
- Spread the chicken slices, yellow onion, red chilli, green chilli around the pan.
- Evenly distribute pepper, sugar, light soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, spring onions, Korean chilli paste, and kimchi in the pan.
- Pour in all the water.
- Switch on the heat to medium. Cover the pan and bring to a boil. It takes about 8 minutes.
- Once the stew is boiling vigorously, gently stir to mix the ingredients. Keep the kimchi on the top layer as the soup is stirred.
- Cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes.
- Taste and adjust as preferred.
- Add the tofu at the top. Scoop and pour some of the gravy over the tofu.
- Cover and cook until the tofu is cooked. It takes around 3 minutes.
- Switch off the heat. Garnish with cut spring onions.
- Best served immediately.
- It can be stored for a day or two in the fridge after cooling down.