The recipe’s I found the author wrote were made from a merging of Maangchi’s kimchi soup (kimchi-guk) and Hooni Kim’s kimchi jjigae  and  NOTE:   Both recipes call for pork belly or shoulder, ( I have lots of loins) neither of which I had. But I did have chicken legs, so I used that instead, and it was excellent and a bit lighter than other versions I’ve had. Use whatever meat you’ve got on hand, or skip the meat for a vegetarian soup.

  • To make it, sear the meat in a little oil in a soup pot. For one to two servings, use about 4 ounces of meat and a drizzle of neutral oil. 

  • When the meat is golden at the edges, add a minced garlic clove or two and a pinch of salt, and stir it around until the garlic makes your stomach growl. 

  • Then add 2 cups of water or dashi (I used water) and a cup of chopped kimchi and its liquid. 

  • You’ll also need some kind of Korean pepper, either a tablespoon of paste — gochujang, which Maangchi calls for — or 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons Gochugaru ***  flakes as per Hooni Kim, or just use whatever red chile powder you’ve got on hand. 

  • I used gochugaru flakes, along with a pinch of sugar. Bring it all to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes, so the flavors meld and the meat cooks.

  • During the last 10 minutes, add half a block of cubed tofu if you have some. (Soft or silken is best, I used firm and it was still good.) 

  • Taste and season with a little salt or a few drops of fish sauce, if needed

  • Serve garnished with a handful of sliced scallions,   Add rice if you want extra heft. It’s spicy, warming and colorful and exactly the right thing to do with any extra kimchi you may have on hand.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 6 scallions, white and pale-green parts chopped, dark-green parts reserved
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 small daikon, peeled, sliced
  • ½ cup kimchi
  • ¼ block firm silken tofu


  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over high. Cook white and pale-green parts of scallions, garlic, and ginger, stirring often, until softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add broth, then whisk in gochujang and soy sauce. Add daikon and gently simmer until daikon is tender, 15–20 minutes.
  • Add kimchi and tofu. Simmer until tofu is heated through. Carefully divide among bowls. Thinly slice reserved scallion tops and scatter over.


  • 1 pound fresh pork belly, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil   
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups kimchi, aged if possible, squeezed dry and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Korean red pepper paste (gochujang)
  • 1 tablespoon Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru)***
  • 1 cup kimchi juice
  • 8 cups water (for a richer soup, use chicken, pork or beef broth)
  • 8 ounces soft or silken tofu, cut in large cubes
  • 8 scallions or Korean chives, chopped, for garnish


  1. Put pork belly in a bowl. Add garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil and fish sauce. Toss well to coat and let marinate for 10 minutes.
  2. Set a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Melt butter, then add pork belly mixture and let it cook gently for 5 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Turn heat to medium high and add kimchi, gochujang and gochugaru. Let mixture simmer for 2 minutes.
  3. Add kimchi juice and water (or broth, if using) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a brisk simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Taste broth and adjust seasoning.
  4. Just before serving, add tofu and stir gently to combine. When tofu is heated through, ladle into bowls and garnish with scallions.


Dashi is a light, pale-gold soup and cooking broth that smells like the sea. It’s an essential ingredient in many classic Japanese dishes -- miso soup, noodle dishes, stews, and more. 

You can find dashi granules and dashi powder for instant dashi broth at well-stocked grocery stores. But it's actually quite simple to make homemade dashi. And the flavor of homemade dashi can be more subtle than store-bought instant dashi.

There are several types of dashi stock. The most popular dashi is made with dried fish flakes (katsuobushi or bonito flakes) and dried kelp (kombu). There are also vegetarian or vegan dashi, including versions that call for dried kelp without the fish flakes and shiitake dashi that uses dried shiitake mushrooms. 

How to Make Dashi Stock  Method #1 

1. If you're using a recipe with kombu (dried kelp), wipe away any dirt with a paper towel or damp cloth. Then add it to a saucepan of water and soak for 30 minutes to soften it.

2. Slice a few slits in the softened kelp leaves and return them to the water. Bring the water to a boil.

3. Remove the kombu from the water once it boils to keep the broth from getting bitter.

4. If you're using bonito flakes, add them to the boiling water -- and take the pan off the heat. The bonito flakes will settle to the bottom of the pan as the broth cools a bit.

5. Strain the bonito flakes through a strainer lined with cheesecloth. A coffee filter will also work.

How to Make Dashi, Method #2:
You can also make a cold-brew version of dashi simply by soaking kombu in water for 1-2 hours.

Konbu Dashi  —  "This is a good vegetarian broth and enhances the subtle flavor of Japanese cuisine," says Rachael. "It is also a bit friendlier to the western chef than katsubuoshi, which is made from dried fish flakes and can be very aromatic." It calls for kombu, a variety of dried edible kelp.

Hoshi-Shiitake Dashi  —  "This is one of the many ways to make Dashi soup," says Hinata. "This soup stock is good for recipes like Nikujaga, a Japanese meat and potatoes dish."  Use the mushrooms in other recipes after they make the stock!

Bonito Dashi  —  This simple recipe combines dashi kombu (dried kelp) with bonito shavings (dried fish flakes).

EDITORS NOTES:    What is dashi powder? Dashi stock powder is the instant version of dashi stock. To make it, you simply combine the granules with hot water. The taste is typically stronger than homemade.

Is there a dashi stock substitute? Yes  If you don’t have dashi stock on hand, try mushroom broth, which can mimic the perception of umami. Other stocks or broths — beef, chicken, vegetarian*** — are also good substitutes.

How should I store homemade dashi?  Keep dashi covered and refrigerated when not in use. It will keep for up to two weeks. When it's gone bad, you may notice a sour smell.

DEC 2020