The Momofuku Cookbook's Kimchi Stew with Rice Cakes Recipe

Fresh and crisp kimchi pairs with any kind of broth and chewy, glutinous rice cakes for an easy, adaptable stew.


Why It Works

  • Fresh and crisp two-week-old kimchi lends crunch, without being too sour.
  • You can sub in any protein you have on hand, be it another meat, tofu, or eggs poached in the hot soup.

The Momofuku cookbook is a joy to read and cook from for a lot of reasons, but as an Asian cook, I can especially relate to the idea of reinventing childhood dishes for modern tastes.

With love and willpower, immigrant mothers manage to feed their families for very little, though doing so doesn't always produce the most palatable results. In his discussion of his recipe for Kimchi Stew with Rice Cakes, David Chang recollects his own mother's tendency to add overly-fermented kimchi to the stew (made in the first place with a watery, anchovy stock).

Chang's rendition, on the other hand, uses two-week old kimchi—fresh and crisp with a not-too-sour taste. Given his infatuation with pork, it's no surprise Chang's version is made with his pork bone ramen broth. The stew also features the shredded pork shoulder from the same ramen recipe, making the first achievable only if you have the second prepared.

Kimchi stew, however, can be delicious even without the time-consuming pork bone ramen broth. The idea is to use some kind of stock—chicken, beef, or even a good vegetable-based one—to bolster the flavor of the young kimchi. Lots of kimchi.

Chang's proportion of stock-to-kimchi is exactly one-to-one (eight cups of broth to eight cups of kimchi), and that's also how I like it. Chang's crowning touch is his addition of rice cakes made with glutinous rice, which can soak up the spicy broth and still retain its unique texture. (If you buy the packs of dried rice cakes, soak them for several hours in cold water before use.)

With so much kimchi as well as the rice cakes, the meat plays an ancillary role. Instead of pork, you can use whatever other protein you have, be it another meat, tofu, or eggs poached in the soup. Mirin counters the spiciness of the kimchi-laden soup and if I'm so inclined, I'll add a dollop miso at the last moment.

"if you have fresh kimchi and rice cakes on hand, you can make an absorbingly good soup"

It may not be the complete Momofuku experience, but if you have fresh kimchi and rice cakes on hand, you can make an absorbingly good soup for yourself in very little time. This kimchi stew is so good, in fact, by the time I'm a quarter of the way through eating it, I'm already wishing for another bowl.

Maybe it's the umami component of the anchovies, which commonly ferments kimchi, or simply the pleasure chewing the rice cakes. Finally, if you have some extra time, you can toast the rice cakes prior to adding them to the soup so the surface of the cakes stays crisp even as they soak in the soup.

Adapted from the Momofuku Cookbook by David Chang.

March 2010

Recipe Facts

Cook: 40 mins
Total: 40 mins
Serves: 5 to 6 servings

Rate & Comment


  • 8 cups young (around 2-week old) kimchi

  • 8 cup stock or broth (either meat or vegetable)

  • 6 tablespoons mirin

  • 1 cup sliced rice cakes

  • A heaping 1 cup slice scallions

Your Choice of Protein:

  • 1 carton cubed regular (cotton) tofu

  • Chicken, pork, or beef from your meat broth

  • 5 to 6 eggs


  1. Bring the stock to a boil in a pot. Add the kimchi and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes.

  2. Add the meat, tofu, or eggs to the broth and cook until the meat or tofu is warmed through, or until the eggs have gently finished poaching. Add the mirin. Taste the soup and adjust as needed, adding more mirin if necessary. When you've achieved the proper balance, add the rice cakes to the pot.

  3. Once the rice cakes are warmed through (about 30 to 60 seconds), portion the soup into bowls. Top each bowl with the scallions and serve immediately, with rice on the side.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
264 Calories
2g Fat
50g Carbs
11g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 5 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 264
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1882mg 82%
Total Carbohydrate 50g 18%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 11g
Vitamin C 4mg 22%
Calcium 109mg 8%
Iron 7mg 37%
Potassium 750mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)