Last night I did indeed make kimchi jjigae. You never know when you try a new recipe how it is going to turn out - if you picked the best recipe, whether you should follow every step exactly or make adjustments based on your tastes, etc. I ended up using Mark Bittman’s recipe, which is vegetarian, but did make a few changes.
I didn’t have any homemade kimchi so I used store bought. Store bought kimchi is always too mild for me, so I used almost twice the amount of red pepper paste. The recipe called for a cup and a half of kimchi, but I used the whole jar (after a few bites that is), and I would recommend doing the same. I also used a full bunch of scallions instead of counting out 6.
Most of the other recipes I looked at said to make the rice separately, which I did (sorry Mark, but the idea of cooking the rice in the soup and leaving it there just didn’t seem right/appetizing to me). The recipe called for water or vegetable stock. I used water but one less cup. I added a little extra soy sauce to make up for using water. I would be open to using a vegetable broth in the future but would be concerned it might affect the flavor (some broths can be a little offending). The flavors were so rich that I can confidently say using water is ok (and Mark obviously thought so too).
I also made kongnamul muchim. It is meant to be a side dish but the flavors were more mild than I thought they would be (you would never guess based on the recipe) so it instead became a topping for the soup, which was really pleasant.
I recently read that kimchi jjigae (or kimchi stew) is a good alternative to chicken soup when you’re sick. It really is a rich, flavorful, hearty soup that will warm you up and get you through the coldest of nights.