Double-Feature: Kimchi Jjigae (김치 찌개) & Quinoa Kimchi Bokkeum (김치 볶음)


This post is a day late.  To make up for it, I’m hitting you with a double-feature.  One of them is a soup, one of them is not.  Both are amazing.  Two of my favourite Korean dishes (I say that about all the Korean dishes) are kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew) and kimchi bokkeumbap (kimchi fried rice).  A quick afternoon lunch or a drawn-out drunken late-night snack at the Kimbap Cheonguk.  No matter the time of day, I’d often convince whomever I was with to split these two dishes.  They go hand-in-hand if you’re kimchi-crazy like myself.

This was my favourite store-bought kimchi in Korea.  Luckily they export it to Canada.
This was my favourite store-bought kimchi in Korea. Luckily they export it to Canada.

These two recipes have been modified to suit my particular diet.

Recently, I’ve had to make some big changes in my diet.  It took me some time but I finally figured out why I have very little energy most days.  Why I can sleep for 10 hours and still feel exhausted.  Why I can’t lose weight when I greatly limit my calorie intake and exercise profusely.  It turns out that I have hypothyroidism.  My mother had it, so I had my suspicions and saw a doctor about it.  I recently started medication which I will likely take for the rest of my life.  I’m just happy to finally know what the problem is so I can start dealing with it.

I’ve been doing a lot of research on foods that will help boost the function of my thyroid gland and foods that will suppress the function.  The latter in which I will sadly have to limit or avoid altogether.

Since soy in its’ non-fermented form works against me, I’ve substituted tofu in the stew with an easy recipe for homemade chickpea tofu sent to me by my fellow food-sensitive friend, Charlotte.  It’s got a very similar texture to the real deal and a slightly salty taste that worked very well in the stew.

This yellow chickpea tofu sets very quickly at room temperature.
This yellow chickpea tofu sets very quickly at room temperature.

High glycemic index foods should be limited in a hypothyroidism diet, so I’ve substituted white rice with quinoa for the bokkeum.  I’m new to cooking with quinoa and was a bit nervous it wouldn’t taste right in this dish, but the other flavours are so powerful that I forgot I wasn’t eating rice.  Even Douglas, who refuses to eat this dish with brown rice, gave the quinoa his “A++++++ would eat again” approval.

Kimchi Jjigae

  • 4 cups kimchi, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup kimchi juice
  • 150 grams pork belly, sliced
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tbsp red pepper paste (gochujang)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup tofu or chickpea tofu, cut into cubes
  • 4-6 cups water, enough to cover contents in pot
  • Sesame oil

Place kimchi, kimchi juice, green onions, onion, pork belly in a medium soup pot.  Add the water to submerge the contents and heat on high.  Stir the pepper paste, chili powder, and sugar and cover the pot.


Boil, covered, on high heat for 10 minutes and turn the heat down to medium high.  Boil for 20 more minutes and add the tofu.

Continue to boil for 5 more minutes and serve with a dash of sesame oil in each bowl.


Serves 4.

Quinoa Kimchi Bokkeum

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup kimchi, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp kimchi juice
  • 50 grams pork belly, diced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 fried egg, over easy

Cook the quinoa according to package directions.  I cook mine in a rice cooker – two parts water, one part quinoa.

Heat large frying pan over medium high.  Once the pan is hot, add the pork and cook until browned on both sides.  Add the kimchi to the pan and cook a few minutes or until kimchi juice is simmering.

Stir in the cooked quinoa and mix for another few minutes or until all the quinoa is coated.  Add the sesame oil and soy sauce, stir for a couple more minutes and transfer to a plate.


While the kimchi fried quinoa is cooking, get another frying pan hot over medium with the olive oil and fry an egg over easy.

Serve the kimchi fried quinoa with the egg on top.

Can't wait to bust into that yolk.
Can’t wait to bust into that yolk.
Serves 1.

2 thoughts on “Double-Feature: Kimchi Jjigae (김치 찌개) & Quinoa Kimchi Bokkeum (김치 볶음)

  1. Hi Katie, this looks really yummy. I love quinoa! I didn’t know mom had hypothyroidism. I was diagnosed when I was 16 and have been taking meds since. Judi

    1. Thanks, Judi! If you like kimchi, you’ll like the quinoa kimchi bokkeum!

      She was diagnosed pretty late on with hypothyroid. Like mother – like daughter – like daughter, I guess!

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