Kongbiji Jigae

Korean food is absolutely fascinating, and for some reason, this dish, inspired by Deuki Hong, resonated perfectly with my perception of what the food of South Korea represents.

Like any great cuisine, Korean food is defined by necessity and ingenuity. Here we have some basic core ingredients that get transformed into a hearty stew that can get you through long winters or can serve as a surprising palate-awakener for a longer meal.

My version is almost a direct copy of Mr. Hong’s, however I felt the need to add a little fish sauce for extra umami and some turmeric and Korean chile powder to up the flavor and drive home the gorgeous yellow-orange color.

For the kimchi, sources vary widely, but try to find the spicy stuff at a Korean market or even a place like Whole Foods. After you buy it, taste for funkiness. If it’s a young kimchi, as most stuff you will find will be, place it in a cabinet for a week to let it age and ferment more. Trust me on this one, it’s worth it (and it’s safe).


  • 2 cups dried soybeans
  • 4-6 oz pork shoulder, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup kimchi, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 inch ginger knob, peeled and minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 TBSP sesame oil
  • 1 tsp ground tumeric
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 TBSP gochujaru (Korean red chile powder….other chile powder will work but don’t have the same complex, smokey flavor of gochujaru)

(Serves 4-6 as a side dish)


  1. Place soybeans in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Soak for at least 2 hours, up to overnight.
  2. Drain soybeans, then add to a pot of boiling water and cook for 10-15 minutes. Drain over a bowl to reserve the cooking liquid, then shock in an ice bath.
  3. Using your God-given utensils called hands, rub the soybeans together in the ice bath to remove their skins. This will take about 5 minutes and you won’t remove all of them, but do the best you can. Discard the skins as you go.
  4. Drain the soybeans, then add them along with about a cup of the reserved cooking liquid to a blender and puree until smooth, then set aside.
  5. Heat 1 TBSP canola oil in a dutch oven or sauce pan, then add the diced pork, kimchi, garlic, and ginger, stirring constantly until the pork is mostly cooked through, about 4 minutes.
  6. Add 1 cup of the soybean cooking liquid, then the pureed soybeans. Stir everything to combine and bring to a simmer over medium heat. The stew should be thick but not too thick, so add more of the cooking liquid as needed to get a more soupy texture.
  7. Add a generous helping of sesame oil, the turmeric (mostly for color), the gochujaru, and a dash of fish sauce. Continue simmering for 10-12 minutes and serve in small bowls topped with scallions as an appetizer or side dish.

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