Ling says her mother-in-law’s recipe is especially good because it stands out from what one would typically find in most restaurants in the United States. “When you order kimchi stew in most Korean restaurants, there’s only some little pieces of beef or pork, but she puts the entire rib,” she explains. “She’ll get two packages of baby-back ribs and slice them. It’s very different from the kimchi jjigae that you will order in a Korean restaurant in Los Angeles or New York. But it’s really easy—it just takes a lot of boiling.”
Like to make it yourself? Ling and her mother-in-law have kindly shared the recipe with us, below.
Lisa Ling’s Mother-in-Law’s Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)
1 jar (7 lb. 8 oz.) kimchi, either red or white. It has to be very fermented so that it is quite sour. It’s often made with old kimchi.
2 racks short or baby-back whole ribs, sliced
1 Tbsp. anchovy powder
1 Tbsp. sugar (optional)
Place the ribs in boiling hot water on high, but don’t cook them entirely. Just cook off the fat.
While the ribs are cooking, slice the kimchi into pieces, 2–3 inches in length.
Place one layer of ribs in a pot, then one layer of kimchi, then repeat.
Pour the kimchi juice from the original jar into the pot. If the kimchi is too spicy or sour, you can add a little water to taste.
Add the anchovy powder. Taste. If the flavor is too strong, add a tablespoon of sugar.
Boil pot on high initially, then reduce the temperature after boiling. Heat until meat is cooked, then serve.
Anna Moeslein is the deputy editor at Glamour.