Korean stew recipes range from the rich and spicy to warming and comforting, and are an essential part of cuisine and tradition. Most are served with rice, and act as a sort of palette cleanser between courses so that diners can appreciate the full host of flavors in the meal. There are a variety of different types of stews, and here are some of the best Korean stew recipes we’ve found.
In Korean culture, stews are often served as part of a multi-course meal. Served hot in large earthenware bowls, stews and soups are the backbone of the Korean diet, and one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the diverse culinary culture.
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What Is Korean Stew?
We’ve traveled to South Korea several times, at least two of those have been in the dead of winter. We sought both Korean bbq and stews to warm us on cold, cold days. Luckily, it’s easy to find both at traditional restaurants in Korea.
There isn’t one way to describe Korean stew recipes, except for delicious. Filled with spices and native ingredients, stew (jjigae) are used as a celebration, or to tie a meal together. Rather than seasoning with salt and chili, chefs use everything from soy sauce to fish paste to gochujang, and create stews designed to nourish.
While many traditional Korean recipes center around beef or pork, for many years meat was a scarce commodity. Chefs were forced to be innovative, using scraps and off-cuts to create dishes like army stew, a Korean war-style dish that focuses on American meats like SPAM and sausages.
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Many stews are made using leftovers, with dishes like kimchi jjigae one of the more popular ways to use up food before it goes bad. In fact, it’s often preferred to use ingredients that are on the verge of turning due to their funky, rich flavor profiles.
Korean stew is usually served as a communal dish to be shared amongst the diners. While some restaurants and cafes will serve the stew as the main component of the meal, more than often it is given as a side at no extra cost.
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How To Make Korean Stew
For anyone new to cooking, stews are easy Korean recipes designed to nourish and satisfy. Typical ingredients for authentic Korean recipes are very nutrient-rich, and include dashi powder, dried anchovies (myulchee), fermented miso (gaenjang) and seaweed (miyeok). Even the bone broths have properties that contribute to immune system and cardiovascular health – perfect if you’re feeling under the weather.
While authentic Korean casseroles may seem intimidating, the ingredients can be easily sourced at grocery stores, on Amazon, or in specialty shops. Look out for kimchi, a traditional Korean pickle in the cooler aisles, or red chili paste commonly used to create bastes and marinades.
When making Korean stew recipes, prepare for it to take a while! Many of these stews will simmer for hours or even days to unlock the rich cacophony of flavors and spice that make Korean food so special. Some popular Korean stews, like soondubu jjigae, are so well-known that entire restaurants are dedicated to their perfection.
The best part about Korean hot pot recipes? They’re actually very simple to make. Much of the flavor comes from simple beef or chicken-based broths, and the tender meat and vegetables don’t need much tending during the cooking time. Simply put the ingredients in a pot, and allow to simmer for as long as needed.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are some of the best Korean stew recipes for you to try!
The Best Korean Stew Recipes
Living in Ireland, we don’t have any Korean restaurants nearby, so we’ve had to get creative. We shop at local Asian stores where we have access to almost any ingredient we need. So, we’ve put together this list of the best stew recipes from traditional Korean cooking.
Soondubu jjigae is a delicious spicy soft tofu stew made of silken tofu simmered in spicy Korean broth! Add veggies and any protein for a flavorful, satisfying meal!
Spicy Kimchi Stew – Kimchi Jjigae
This spicy Kimchi Stew Recipe is made with umami-packed gochujang, doenjang (fermented soybean paste), spicy kimchi, and other flavor-packed ingredients, as well as tofu, noodles, and seafood. Plus it comes together in just 30 minutes!
Spicy Korean Chicken Stew
Boneless chicken thighs and spinach are simmered in sweet, spicy, garlicky chili sauce that’s to die for. The key to this easy flavorful recipe is store-bought Gochujang (Korean chili sauce). When you see how easy this amazing sauce is, you’ll want to cook everything with it.
Andong Jjimdak – Korean Braised Chicken Stew
Andong jjimdak recipe (안동찜닭) is a Korean braised stew chicken which is mixed with soy sauce, glass noodles, potatoes, and carrots. It is a delicious and easy Korean chicken dish that pairs best with white rice.
Pork Belly And Kimchi Tofu Stew
Super easy to make and full of flavor, this Pork Belly and Kimchi Tofu Stew is going to warm you right up. It’s satisfying, cozy, and super tasty.
Korean Short Rib Beef Stew With Gochujang
Korean Beef Stew – short ribs braised with a sauce flavored with spicy Korean chili paste (gochujang), sesame oil, and rice wine, resulting in a thick stew featuring the classic flavors of Korean Cuisine.
Spicy Slow Cooker Korean Beef
Slow Cooker Korean Beef is absolutely bursting with flavor and has the most mouthwatering aroma whilst cooking! Tender pieces of beef are slowly simmered in a dark and delicious hot and sweet sauce with chunks of fresh pear. Served on a bed of jasmine rice it’s a fantastic alternative for takeaway night.
Kimchi Seafood Soup
This kimchi seafood soup is a quick and easy version of Korean tofu stew (Sundubu jjigae), and is made with kimchi, tofu, and shrimp. Make it in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop!
Doenjang Jjigae – Korean Bean Paste Soup
Korean bean paste is the star in this stew (jig means stew in Korean). Make it mild or spicy, and enjoy a healthy and delicious meal anytime you want a taste of Korea.
Kimchi Ramen Noodle Soup
This easy and flavorful Korean-inspired stew is made with ramen noodles, fresh greens, hard-boiled eggs, and, of course, kimchi! Ready in just 30 minutes, this delicious and cozy Kimchi Noodle Stew will keep you warm and full all winter long.