recipes that teach you how to cook without recipes

Spicy Korean Stew

I don’t call this by any actual Korean stew name (kimchi-jjigae or dwaejigogi-jjigae or sundubu-jjigae, for example) because I don’t always have all the ingredients that go into any specific Korean stew. I do always have Gochujang, though and just Gochujang, garlic and ginger are enough to make a Korean style stew – I think anyway. Just add any veggies and/or protein you like and let it bubble away until everything is cooked while you bask in the delicious scent that will consume your home.

As Gochujang, garlic and ginger are the only required ingredients for this recipe, you can do whatever you like with it. Make it vegetarian or vegan, all veggies, no veggies, as spicy as you like, as meaty as you like, the possibilities are endless!

Serves 2-3


for the soup/base

oil (omit if using fatty meat)

garlic, roughly chopped or smashed (4-8 cloves, to taste)

ginger, sliced (1-2 cm piece)

gochujang (1-2 tbsp)

anchovies (optional)

flavourings (all optional, to taste)

soy sauce

fish sauce


salt and pepper

sesame oil


meat (pork, chicken), cut into 3-4 cm pieces

fatty cuts work best (chicken thigh, pork belly, pork neck)

tofu, sliced


rice cakes

udon noodles

ramen noodles

fresh veggies



mushrooms (any type)

bok choy


meat stew:

  1. Add the meat to a heavy bottomed pot with a lid along with the garlic and ginger and anchovies. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes until the meat browns and releases some fat.
  2. Add the gochujang (start with 1 tbsp) and 2 cups of water or enough to cover the meat. Boil for 10-15 minutes, then taste. Add any flavourings and extra gochujang, if you like, until the stew tastes delicious to you.
  3. Let the stew boil on low heat until the meat is very tender. This can take up to an hour depending on the meat you are using.

veggie stew:

  1. Add the garlic and ginger to 1-2 tbsp of oil and stir fry for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  2. Add the gochujang (start with 1 tbsp) and 2 cups of water, bring to a boil and taste the broth. Add any flavourings and extra gochujang, if you like, until the stew tastes delicious to you.

all stews (after above steps):

  1. Add more water, if necessary, or boil down the stew to thicken until it’s the consistency you like.
  2. Add the carbs and veggies and boil the stew until everything is cooked (~ 5 minutes).
  3. If using tofu, add the sliced tofu on top of the stew before serving.
  4. Garnish with sliced green onion and toasted sesame seeds
  5. Serve hot and bubbly.

You can also use seafood to make a seafood stew. Seafood should be added just before you add carbs and veggies as seafood cooks quickly.

If using dried mushrooms, add them when you add water to make the stew.

If you don’t include any carbs in the stew, it’s nice to serve this with rice.

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