Soondubu Jjigae 순두부찌개 (Spicy Soft Tofu Soup)

There are many dishes that I enjoy cooking time and time again, not only because they are easy but also because I can cook them pretty well. But for this particular Korean dish (which is one of my favorites), I always find myself hesitating and then falling into deep nostalgia. During my time in Seoul, I remember ordering this spicy soup at least once a week regardless of weather temperature and it always hit the spot. There’s something special about the oh-so-soft, absolutely silken tofu texture that is unparalleled when matched with the spicy broth and plain white rice. For that reason alone, I left this off my recipe list until the last minute. And, ironically, I will finally get to order this soup any time I want as I head off to Seoul tomorrow morning (yah!). As with most Korean soups and stews, there are endless variations of soondubu jjigae but I enjoy the basics: various seafood, zucchini, onion, mushrooms, and plenty of silken tofu. You’re more than welcome to adjust and substitute ingredients to your preference (just make sure you have the sauce ingredients intact).  Interesting side note, most restaurants in Korea usually serve soondubu jigae in traditional earthenware bowls called ttukbaeggi and they come out bubbling, scorching hot. A raw egg is then added to the soup just before serving so don’t be surprised at its initial appearance!

jlkdsjflkadThere’s not a lot of fuss with this soup. Don’t hesitate to switch up ingredients as well.

DSC_0104Green onions and onions are basic ingredients in Korean cooking so have plenty of them around.

117After stir frying the seafood and vegetables, add some water and sauce ingredients together and boil for about 10 minutes. 

When just about finished, add the tofu and egg 

DSC_0168Enjoy with rice and other seasonal banchan (side dishes). 

 

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15~20 minutes

Serves: 4~6 people

Ingredients:

  • 2 tubes soondubu (silken tofu)
  • 3, 4 cups seafood variety
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 zucchini, diced

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 4, 5 tbsp gochugaru (red pepper flakes)
  • 1 tbsp gochujang (red pepper paste)
  • 4, 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 6~8 cups water
  • 1 egg
  • 2 red or green chili peppers, sliced (optional)
  • 1 tsp saewoojeot (salted shrimp; optional)
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot (or earthenware/clay pot), saute the seafood, onion, and zucchini in some oil for about 5 minutes.
  2. Next, add sauce ingredients and water to the mix. Bring to a rapid boil, about 10 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to medium, add remaining ingredients including tofu pieces, 5 minutes.
  4. Near its completion, top with egg and garnish with green onion.
  5. Serve hot with rice and banchan (side dishes). Enjoy!

*If you are not using seafood of any sorts, then I recommend going the normal, traditional route for the broth: dried anchovies (myulchi), kelp, and a few garlic cloves. It brings added depth to the broth, especially when substituting seafood for other meats like pork or beef.

**You can vary the spiciness level of this soup by limiting the amount of gochugaru (red chili flakes). For a serving of 4, no more than 5 tablespoons would be needed. You can also add some sugar, helping to counteract the spiciness of the stew.

***For vegetarians, you can omit the seafood and still retain the great flavors of soondubu jjigae. 

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