Instant Pot Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)

Kimchi jjigae (김치찌개) is a traditional Korean stew made with aged, flavorful kimchi! It is one of my favorite comfort dishes ever.    

I've been making it in my Instant Pot lately and like it. The stew is delicious and rich, and the kimchi softens quickly. My stovetop kimchi jjigae recipe is tweaked for my 6-quart Instant Pot.   

I stir-fry kimchi and pork before adding water or broth for flavor. This step benefits from the Instant Pot's Saute mode.   

Pressure cook soup in Soup mode after adding liquid. The cooking time is much less than stovetop. The time it takes the Instant Pot to develop pressure reduces the time savings.   

After the fast pressure release, add tofu pieces, scallions, and onion slices (if desired) and simmer for a few minutes using the Saute button. If you don't use tofu, wait a few minutes for the natural pressure to dissipate before adding the scallions.   

Always use completely fermented, sour kimchi while cooking. Older is better! Despite not having old kimchi, you may still make this stew and other kimchi dishes. Korean markets may sell mukeunji (묵은지), or old kimchi, in commercial packaging.   

Kimchi for the stew 

Most of my kimchi stew uses fatty pork. Simply the finest! I understand some of you don't eat pork. Use meat or canned tuna. Large meat portions are possible! Tough meat won't be a problem after Instant Pot cooking. Remember, the Instant Pot cooks kimchi jjigae with pork ribs well.   

Meat for kimchi jjigae 

1-1/2 lbs well-fermented kimchi About 3 cups of chopped kimchi  8 ounces fatty pork or beef A tablespoon sesame oil  Add 1 to 3 tsp Korean red chili pepper flakes gochugaru to taste. 1/2 cup kimchi juice if available 2 cups water*1/2 cup additional without kimchi juice   


Add 1 tablespoon soup soy sauce, 1 tablespoon chopped garlic, 8 ounces tofu, 2 scallions, and black pepper to taste. Optional: 1–2 tablespoons sugar   

Cut meat and kimchi into bites. Slice the tofu 1/2-inch thick and roughly slice the scallions.   


Press Instant Pot Saute. After heating, add the pork, kimchi, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes and cook for 5 minutes until the kimchi softens and the pork is no longer pink.   

Pour in kimchi liquid, water, soup soy sauce, and garlic. Lock the lid, select Soup mode, and set the time to 10 minutes. Set steam valve to “Sealing”.   

To quickly release pressure, turn the steam valve to “Vent” when the Instant Pot beeps. Open lid, add tofu, scallions. Press Saute again and simmer for 5 minutes or more until the kimchi is cooked.   

Save rice rinse water, ssal ddeum mul, for jjigae/stew flavor. Korean jjigae uses rice-rinsing water. Use water from the second or third rinse. Another option is anchovy broth (7–8 medium-dry anchovies and one 3-inch square dried kelp cooked in 3 cups of water for 10 minutes).   


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