What is Soondubu Jjigae?
Soondubu Jjigae is a stew made from silken tofu in a spicy broth. It is a very popular dish in Korea and can be found in many Korean restaurants in the United States as well. The broth is made with seafood, red chili powder, red chili paste, and some vegetables but the main feature of the stew is the soft tofu. There are many types of tofu but silken tofu has the most delicate texture and can be scooped up effortlessly with a spoon.
Like many other jjigae, or Korean stews, soondubu jjiggae is served in a thick, stone bowl that has been heated in an oven or over an open fire. The hot stone is great at keeping the soup hot and bubbling even long after it has reached your table. Typically, a raw egg is cracked on top of the stew right before consumption and the residual heat of the stew will cook it creating a nice silky texture to compliment the tofu.
What is Soondubu?
Soondubu is the softest type of tofu and is often called silken tofu. The reason it is so soft is because there is extra water content in the tofu itself. Salt water is mixed with soy milk which forms clumps, or curdles, due to the salinity of the salt water. If it is not strained of the water content enough, the tofu will be very soft and is called soondubu or “mild tofu”.
How to Make Soondubu Jjigae?
Soondubu Jjigae is perfect for a cold winter evening dinner to share with family or friends. You can make a large stew to go with hot rice, side dishes, and company! Below is a recipe for 2 but feel free to double or triple the ingredients to serve more.
- 4 cups of water
- Handful of dried anchovies
- 1 large piece of dried kelp
- Choice of protein, 4-6 oz.
- Fatty pork
- Cooking oil
- ⅓ cup kimchi, chopped
- 1 stalk of scallion, chopped
- ¼ cup onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Pinch of salt, or to taste
- 1 tube of soondubu
- 1 egg
- Prepare the stock
- Put the anchovies, kelp and water in a medium sized pot and bring to a boil
- Simmer for 20-30 minutes to get the sea flavors out
- Remove the solids and discard
- Heat up a medium to large pot and toss in a splash of cooking oil
- Add in the onion and garlic and stir for 1-2 minutes
- Add in your protein and brown the outside for about 3 minutes. This will finish cooking in the broth
- Add the chopped kimchi and broth. Cook over medium to high heat for 7-10 minutes
- Add the pinch of salt, chili flakes, sesame oil, and tofu
- Stir the stew and dress it with the scallions and crack the raw egg into the center
- Your soondubu jjigae is ready!