Dinner Soup Winter

Kimchi Jjigae

August 28, 2013

Kimchi JjigaeThe summer just flew by and I can feel fall at my fingertips.  The last few months have been difficult ones.   Aside from my general disdain for summer, the heat, feeling sticky all the time, and the way the world smells from baking in the sun all day I’ve been pushing through some life changes and slowly getting back on track.

The first update is that I have decided to leave my performance marketing job in Chicago as of the end of the year.  December 20th will be my last day (this is also oddly the day I started, years ago; we’ve come full circle) and shortly after that I will be packing up Charlee and moving east.  Hello, New York City, I hope you’re ready for us!  This decision happened over several months of debate.  There were countless conversations with my dad every few months over the course of two years or so where I tried to brainstorm what my next move was.  What would I do, where would I go, could I even go?  I’m so Midwestern at heart.  You couldn’t power wash the Michigan out of me (or my love of the Detroit Red Wings … and yes, also the Lions – PERFECT SEASON) if you tried.  So, moving somewhere that’s not just a 2.5 hour drive from home is intimidating as hell but it’s now or …. now.  The Midwest will always be here for me should I need to come back and that’s very comforting.

In September, I’ll be applying to graduate school at NYU.  One program, one application, nothing else is being considered.  It may seem a little risky to pack up and move to NYC before knowing if I’ve gained admittance for Fall 2014 but that’s okay.  I feel like I have to take an opportunity to be unattached and mobile while I can be.  I will likely never be this flexible with my “life decisions” ever again.  So, we’re packing up, downsizing a shitload, and starting something new.  I’m slightly terrified.

Second on the housekeeping clean up list is a health related victory.  For over a year/year and a half now I’ve been going back and forth with some ovarian issues.  To spare any grotesque details I’ll give a speed rundown.  We found cancerous crap in there.  We removed it.  It came back.  We removed an ovary.  We thought we were good.  Then we weren’t.  Then, somehow, magically, we were again.  Months and months of tests, biopsies, and procedures have gotten us to this point.  Finally.  A few short weeks ago I was told I was “clear”.  All good and no presence of malignant bullshit in my system.  My appointments were moved from once a week to once every three months as a precautionary measure (to check on how things are going). After months of bad luck this was the best news I could have ever hoped for.  It’s like when you listen to a new album for the first time and the sound rips past your eardrums and hits you straight in the chest.  This hit me straight int he chest.  It’s like that kind of body high you get that’s letting you know you’re experiencing something good, really good.  Is it all really over?  I can’t say that it ever will be 100%.  But for now, we’re good and I’ll take it!

With the appointments and tests my schedule quickly filled up and blogging fell to the side.  But, I’m back and things are better than ever.  So let’s get to it shall we?


There are so many definitions for comfort food.  If you asked me ten years ago what my go to comfort food was I can guarantee you that it was not a smoldering hot spicy kimchi soup with chunks of pork belly.  I bet it would have been something along the lines of macaroni and cheese or grilled cheese and tomato soup.  Well, thank goodness I’ve evolved into this.  Thank you to my matured taste buds.

There is really no wrong way to go about making this soup.  You throw everything in and just let the flavor develop.  Add more kimchi and kimchi juice if you want it spicier.  Throw in some extra veggies or chili flakes!  Well, here’s how I went about things and of course, you can always remove the pork belly all together if you want to go vegetarian.

Kimchi Jjigae




Yield 3-4 bowls


  • 3-4 cups kimchi, coarsely chopped and liquid saved
  • 1 lb pork belly, diced in 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 5 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • coarse sea salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • chives and bean sprouts for garnish


  1. Heat the sesame oil in a large soup pot on medium high heat. Add in your pork belly and season it with your salt and pepper. Stir this until it is brown and crispy (10 minutes or so). Add in your onion and kimchi and stir to combine.
  2. Add enough water to cover everything, about 5-6 cups. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer until your kimchi and onion are softened and the soup has thickened up. This usually takes about 20-25 minutes.
  3. Stir in your fish sauce and scallions. If the soup seems too thick, add a little more water. Cover and simmer for 10 more minutes before serving hot.
  4. Garnish with chives and bean sprouts (or anything you’d like) and enjoy!

Courses Soup

Cuisine Asian

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    September 21, 2013 at 9:33 AM


    You’re young. As far as I’m concerned, that’s reason enough to make a life move. You’ll land in NY and hit the ground running. I’ve no doubt you’ll be admitted to NYU, but I must admit to being curious as to what program you seek admittance. Anyway, onward! All the best to you in this next stage of your life, and your health.

    Best regards…

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