Easy Tuna Kimchi Stew (Chamchi Kimchi Jjigae)

Difficulty Easy

An easy and warming Korean stew to make at home: Chamchi Kimchi Jjigae or Tuna Kimchi Stew! All the briny taste of the sea with omega-rich canned tuna. With the mouth-watering flavors of aged kimchi. You only need a few ingredients to make a bubbling soup that’s good for you and incredibly delicious.

What is Tuna Kimchi Stew or Chamchi Kimchi Jjigae?

Tuna Kimchi Stew, also known as Chamchi Kimchi Jjigae, is a popular Korean soup made with lots of sour kimchi and pantry-friendly canned tuna fish. Cozy and comforting, it’s a staple in Korean home cooking. The perfect soup on a cold day!

In Korean cuisine, there are multiple kinds of Kimchi Soup. One of my favorites, Pork Belly Kimchi Jjigae, contains tender chunks of pork belly and little pork riblets. The fatty pork melts in your mouth. A decadent Kimchi Jjigae that is rich, savory, and quite luxurious.

By contrast, Tuna Kimchi Jjigae is lean with a clean seafood flavor. Instead of the full, rich flavor of pork — it’s seasoned with flavors of the sea. The tuna version is lighter and less meaty. It also contains less saturated fat with more good-for-you Omega-3 fatty acids. A healthy Tuna Kimchi Jjigae recipe that’s also incredibly tasty.

In Korean, “Chamchi” means “tuna.” A simple can of tuna is a healthy and delicious way to enjoy Kimchi Jjigae. The briny, salty flavor pairs so well with kimchi. A home staple in Korean cuisine that’s filling, inexpensive, delicious, and nutritious. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • Kimchi. The taste of sour kimchi makes Korean kimchi soup shine. When cooked down, the fermented acidic bite becomes mellow and tangy. So delicious!
  • Canned Tuna. Full of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids, canned tuna contains many minerals and vitamins. Nutritious and good-for-you canned tuna is also low in saturated fat and calories. For this recipe, I recommend Korean canned tuna packed in oil. I like the brand Dongwan, found at Korean grocery stores. If you can’t access it, Italian tuna packed in oil is also delicious. Regular canned tuna packed in water is also good but not as rich tasting.
  • Anchovy Stock. A key ingredient for rich-tasting broth. Make homemade anchovy broth, like my Korean grandma used to do. Or, use anchovy tablets or anchovy powder — they are concentrated forms of anchovy stock. To use, add water — just like chicken bouillon. If you don’t have it, add chicken broth.
  • Tofu. Optional but makes the soup more filling and delicious. Firm tofu will not fall apart and has a thick, meaty texture. Soft silken tofu will melt into the broth. You’ll only need 1/2 a regular-sized package of firm tofu. If you prefer, leave it out. Without the tofu, the soup will have a concentrated kimchi flavor.
  • Sesame Oil. A drizzle of nutty sesame oil adds richness and aroma.
  • Green onion + Sesame seeds. Optional garnish. Adds color and freshness.

Instructions:

  1. Saute kimchi. In a medium saucepan or Korean clay pot (Ttukbaegi), add 1-2 tsp of neutral oil. Add old, sour kimchi and saute on medium heat until golden orange and slightly wilted, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add anchovy broth. Add anchovy broth. Or, use water and anchovy tablets. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer, covered, until the kimchi is soft, about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Add canned tuna. Add drained, canned tuna into the stew. Break up the big chunks with a spoon. Simmer until the flavors meld together, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add tofu. Add cubed tofu and stir to combine. Heat until warmed through, another 1-2 minutes.
  5. Serve. Off the heat, add a drizzle of sesame oil. Add green onion and sesame seeds, if you like. Serve with white rice and enjoy!

PRO Tips:

  • Use old, sour kimchi. Aged kimchi — kimchi that’s old and well fermented — is the key to a fantastic Kimchi Soup. While it may no longer taste good when served at the table, cooking the kimchi mellows the overly tangy and sour flavor. The sour taste of old kimchi cooks down into a deeply flavorful, rich stew.
  • Taste and adjust for flavor. As a fermented food product, kimchi will taste different depending on its place in the fermentation process. Before garnishing, taste the broth. If it’s too salty or too acidic, add a pinch of sugar. If it tastes flat, add a sprinkle of fish sauce. If it’s perfect, it’s time to garnish with sesame oil and serve!
  • Don’t add too much kimchi juice. When sauting the kimchi, do not add too much of the kimchi juice or kimchi brine. A little is okay. But too much will make the final dish taste too acidic.
  • Serve in a Korean clay pot or Ttukbaegi. If you have one, serve in a traditional Korean clay pot. They retain heat well. Your Chamchi Kimchi Jjigae will still be bubbling hot at the table!

FAQ:

What is aged kimchi?

Aged kimchi is well-fermented kimchi that’s past its prime. The fermentation process has done its job and then some. The taste will be very sour and uncomfortably tangy. Aged, old kimchi is soft, juicy, and will fizz in your mouth. It no longer tastes good when served at the table. Old kimchi, however, tastes very good in soups and stir fries, as the cooking process mellows out that intense tangy flavor. In Korean cooking, it’s the preferred kimchi for making soup, fried rice, and stir-fried kimchi.

Kimchi is a fermented food product — like sauerkraut, yogurt, beer, or sourdough bread. As time passes, fermented food will continue to age and ferment. It will taste different depending on how long it’s been fermented.

Freshly made kimchi, called Geotjeori, is not fermented. The flavor is raw and crunchy; it tastes lightly seasoned.

Moderately fermented kimchi is acidic, spicy, and deeply flavorful. It’s the kind typically served at the table.

How do I store leftovers?

Store leftovers in an airtight container — in the fridge — for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or gently reheating on the stovetop. Add more anchovy broth or water if it gets too thick.

More canned tuna recipes:

More Korean soup recipes:

Easy Tuna Kimchi Stew (Chamchi Kimchi Jjigae)

Lis Lam
An easy and warming Korean stew to make at home: Chamchi Kimchi Jjigae or Tuna Kimchi Stew! All the briny taste of the sea with omega-rich canned tuna. With the mouth-watering flavors of aged kimchi. You only need a few ingredients to make a bubbling soup that's good for you and incredibly delicious!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Soup, Stew
Cuisine Korean
Servings 2
Calories 138 kcal

Equipment

  • Medium saucepan or Korean clay pot (ttukbaegi)

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 cups kimchi *preferably old, sour kimchi
  • 1 can/150 grams tuna
  • 1/2 container tofu
  • 2 cups anchovy broth *or chicken broth

Garnish:

  • 1 drizzle sesame oil
  • 1 green onion, chopped *optional
  • 1/2 tsp sesame seeds *optional

Instructions
 

  • Saute kimchi. In a medium saucepan or Korean clay pot (Ttukbaegi), add 1-2 tsp of neutral oil. Add old, sour kimchi and saute on medium heat until golden orange and slightly wilted, about 5 minutes.
  • Add anchovy broth. Add anchovy broth. Or, use water and anchovy tablets. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer, covered, until the kimchi is soft, about 15-20 minutes.
  • Add canned tuna. Add drained, canned tuna into the stew. Break up the big chunks with a spoon. Simmer until the flavors meld together, about 5 minutes.
  • Add tofu. Add cubed tofu and stir to combine. Heat until warmed through, another 1-2 minutes.
  • Serve. Off the heat, add a drizzle of sesame oil. Add green onion and sesame seeds, if you like. Serve with white rice and enjoy!

Video

Notes

PRO Tips:
  • Use old, sour kimchi. Aged kimchi — kimchi that’s old and well fermented — is the key to a fantastic Kimchi Soup. While it may no longer taste good when served at the table, cooking the kimchi mellows the overly tangy and sour flavor. The end result is a deeply flavorful, rich stew.
  • Taste and adjust for flavor. As a fermented food product, kimchi will taste different depending on its place in the fermentation process. Before garnishing, taste the broth. If it’s too salty or too acidic, add a pinch of sugar. If it tastes flat, add a sprinkle of fish sauce. If it’s perfect, it’s time to garnish with sesame oil and serve!
  • Don’t add too much kimchi juice. When sauting the kimchi, be sure not to add too much of the kimchi juice or kimchi brine. A little is okay. But too much will make the final dish taste too acidic.
  • Serve in a Korean clay pot or Ttukbaegi. If you have one, serve in a traditional Korean clay pot. They retain heat well. Your Chamchi Kimchi Jjigae will still be bubbling hot at the table!

Nutrition

Calories: 138kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 22gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 1393mgPotassium: 509mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 198IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 126mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Chamchi, Jjigae, Kimchi, Tofu, Tuna
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
30 minutes, All Recipes, Kimchi, Korean, Seafood, Soup, Weeknight Meals

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