Soondubu Jjigae (Korean Soft Tofu Stew)

Printable Version (Recipe Only)

With a rich, flavorful, spicyhot broth and the delicious complement of lots of light, healthful, and nutty tasting soft tofu, soondubu jjigae (pronounced SOONdooboo TCHIgeh), literally "soft tofu stew," is becoming an increasingly popular standalone Korean dish here in the US.

As with most jjigae dishes, this stuff is usually served screaming hot in an earthenware pot with a raw egg served on the side to be cracked into the bubbling hot mixture and left for a few minutes to cook in that superhot residual heat before digging in.

While it helps to have an earthenware pot if you happen to like your soups and stews almost unbearably temperature hot, in true Korean fashion, you don't need one to make this dish. A small heavy duty stainless saucepan or enamel coated cast iron pot will do just fine.

The recipe I'm sharing today includes pork, but if you've ever had soondubu jjigae at a restaurant, you know that you can get beef, seafood and vegetarian versions as well. You can easily substitute the pork in this recipe for an equal amount of other protein. If you're doing a seafood version (smaller shrimp, clams, and pieces of squid or baby octopus work well), you might like to add your protein halfway into the cook time rather than at the beginning in order to avoid overcooking it.

Soondubu Jjigae (Korean Soft Tofu Stew)

Serves 2. Easily doubled.
Time: About 45 minutes
Printable Version

- 1/2 small onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) or 1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes to start
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 pound pork belly or shoulder, cut into small strips (about 1.5" x .5")
- 2 cups unsalted stock (chicken, pork, beef or seafood are all fine) or water if you don't have stock
- 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
- *optional: 1 chopped fresh chili
- *optional: 1 teaspoon saewoo jut (Korean brined microshrimp) or camaron molido (ground shrimp owder, which can be found in the spice section of your local Latino grocery)
- 1 pound soft tofu
- 1 egg
- 1 small green onion, chopped

1) Put all ingredients except soft tofu, egg and green onion in a pot and bring to vigorous boil over medium high heat. Continue to let it boil for another 3 to 4 minutes.

2) Loosely crumble the tofu and distribute evenly over boiling stew mixture, cover partially, and continue to boil over medium high heat for another 3 or 4 minutes.

3) Gently stir to incorporate all ingredients and adjust seasoning if needed. At this point, you can just add kosher salt for added salt element. You may want to ratchet up the heat with more chili flakes, too.

4) Bring the stew up to a vigorous boil again for 2 or 3 minutes.

5) Remove from heat, crack raw egg into center, sprinkle green onions top, and serve with steamed rice on the side.

Don't forget to spoon some of the boiling hot stew broth (enough to cover) over the top of the raw egg and leave it undisturbed for 3 to 4 minutes to cook the whites through.

Serve with a bowl of steamed rice and some kimchi if you've got it, and enjoy. :)


Full cooking album HERE. (Disregard the boiled pork shoulder - that was for lettuce wraps. :) )



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