I had a head of very sour cabbage kimchi sitting in the back of my fridge for a long time. A friend of mine gave me a batch of her homemade kimchi 6 months ago. I ate all except the last piece. When your cabbage kimchi gets fermented too much, it becomes too sour to eat as is. The solution is to use in stews. Kimchi stew is a popular Korean dish that a lot of people enjoy to make. There are many ways to make the delicious kimchi stew, and here is one variation you can make with fish. 

Here is a well cleaned fish that has been cut into pieces. I am going to cook with my extremely fermented cabbage kimchi. The locals here call this fish "Anchoa" in Spanish, which translates into anchovy. Yes, this fish is a gigantic anchovy. I never imagined that anchovy can have a variety of larger sizes, but it does. It tastes so good with cabbage kimchi.

If you don't have this gigantic anchovy, you can try with different kind of fish. I made kimchi stew with canned mackerel pikes. You can try with any white fish, too.

Cut up the kimchi into large pieces.

This is called rice starch water. It is basically starch water that you reserve after rinsing the rice. You will find how easy it is to collect this rice starch water in the link. It will help thicken the stew. You can use plain water if you don't care for it.

Combine the seasoning paste ingredients and set aside.

Heat a little bit of oil in a stew pot and saute some onion and kimchi for 2-3 minutes. Add a little bit of sugar to reduce the sourness of kimchi

Place the fish on top and spread the seasoning paste, kimchi juice, and the reserved starch water (or plain water)

Bring them to a boil first, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes.

When done, sprinkle some chopped green onion.

The fish is so tender and tasty with pungent stew. It is calling for a bowl of rice.

It will take only a moment to finish off a bowl of rice and you will be asking for more. So good~!

Hope you can try to make kimchi stew with fish. They are so delicious.

~ Holly

Kimchi Stew with Fish


  • 1 whole fish (mackerel, snapper, grouper) about 1.5 lb, cleaned well and cut into pieces
  • 1 head of very fermented cabbage kimchi, cut into large bite chunks (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1-2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup kimchi juice
  • 2 cups rice starch water or plain water
  • 1 green onion, chopped
For the seasoning paste:
  • 2 tablespoons Korean chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Korean soybean paste
  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger


  1. Mix the seasoning paste ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a stew pot, and saute kimchi and onion for 2-3 minutes. Place fish pieces on top. Spread the seasoning paste on top of fish. Pour kimchi juice and the starch water. Bring to boil, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the kimchi is softened.
  3. When the stew is done, sprinkle green onion and serve hot with rice.

Note: For the rice starch water see this post to learn how to make it.

Interested in more Korean food? Click the images below to get the recipes.

Cubed Radish Kimchi Ox Tail Bone Marrow Soup Sweet Rice Corn Hotteok