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Sundubu Jjigae (Korean Spicy Soft Tofu Stew)

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Learn how to make the most delicious Sundubu jjigae (Korean soft tofu stew) from scratch. It’s loaded with delicious seafood and the soup is very refreshing!
 
Sundubu Jjigae (Korean spicy soft tofu stew) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Today I want to share a popular Korean stew – Sundubu Jjigae (순두부 찌개,  Korean spicy soft tofu stew).

I think Sundubu Jjigae is one of the top 3 sought after Korean stews, followed by Kimchi Jjigae and Doenjang Jjigae. (“Jjigae” means stew in Korean.) If you haven’t checked out these two recipes yet, you should! They are two of my most popular recipes as well.

Sundubu Jjigae (Korean spicy soft tofu stew) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

What is Sundubu Jjigae (Korean spicy soft tofu stew, 해물 순두부 찌개)?

Sundubu Jjigae is Korean stew made with soft (uncurdled) tofu. As you can imagine, the tofu texture is silky soft and because of that, this tofu is also a popular choice as a baby food.

I also want to highlight that there are two different types of soft tofu available at a Korean grocery store. The most common one is packaged in a long cylinder shape plastic bag and the other one is packaged in a regular tofu plastic container. I personally prefer to work with the cylinder shape soft tofu because I think it’s easier and quicker to add to the soup/stew.

Different types of Sundubu (Korean soft tofu)

There are also a few different ways to make Sundubu Jjigae but by far my favourite is the seafood version (Haemul Sundubu Jjigae, 해물 순두부 찌개) because it gives a light and extra refreshing taste. (I will cover other variations some other time!)

In general, the stew is spicy. It can potentially make you sneeze while you’re cooking and may even tickle your throat. But nonetheless, it’s refreshing, delicious and very comforting at the same time!

I hope you give this a try soon!

Ingredients for 2 to 3 servings

Sundubu Jjigae (Korean spicy soft tofu stew) Ingredients

Main

  • 350g/12 ounces Korean soft tofu (sundubu)
  • 110g/3.9 ounces littleneck clams, cleaned
  • 3 medium banana prawns (80g/2.8 ounces), head, shells and guts removed
  • 100g/3.5 ounces enoki mushrooms, bottom 4-5 cm stem removed and rinsed briefly in cold running water
  • 45g/1.6 ounces oyster mushrooms or shimeji mushrooms, rinsed and separated by hand
  • 2 small shiitake mushrooms (20g/ 0.7 ounces), cleaned, stem removed and thinly sliced
  • (optional) 1 egg
  • 1 stalk of spring onion (10g/0.4 ounces), diagonally thinly sliced

Soup base

* 1 Tbsp = 15 ml

** If you want to learn more about Korean ingredients, check my 30 essential Korean cooking ingredients list!

How to Make Sundubu Jjigae

1.Put the cooking oil, chilli powder, garlic and soy sauce into a pot. Heat the pot on the stove on medium heat and stir the spices well for 1 min. Make sure not to burn the chilli powder.

Sundubu Jjigae - Making soup base using chilli sauce

2. Add the clams and shrimps and stir quickly to coat them with the chilli sauce.

Sundubu Jjigae - Adding seafood
3. Add the dried kelp and anchovy stock and boil it on medium to medium-high heat until it starts to boil rapidly (2 to 3 mins). Add the salt and stir.

Sundubu Jjigae - Boiling soup base
4. Add the tofu, in big chunks, mushrooms, and egg and cook them for another 1 to 2 mins.

Sundubu Jjigae - Adding tofu, mushrooms and egg
5. Top up with the green onion, black pepper and sesame oil. Serve hot with Korean steamed rice and side dishes (banchan).

Sundubu Jjigae (Korean spicy soft tofu stew) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

 

Note

  • Make sure your pot is large enough to hold all the ingredients listed above, otherwise it can boil over. As an indicator, 24cm/9.4 inch pot holds the ingredients quite comfortably (no boiling over!).


Sundubu Jjigae (Korean spicy soft tofu stew) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Sundubu Jjigae (Korean Spicy Soft Tofu Stew)

How to make the most delicious Sundubu Jjigae (Korean soft tofu stew) from scratch. It's loaded with delicious seafood and the soup is very refreshing!
4.6 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Stew
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: sundubu jjigae
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 2 to 3
Calories: 256kcal
Author: Sue | My Korean Kitchen

Ingredients

Main

  • 350 g Korean soft tofu (12 ounces)
  • 110 g littleneck clams (3.9 ounces), cleaned
  • 3 banana prawns (80g / 2.8 ounces), head, shells and guts removed
  • 100 g enoki mushrooms (3.5 ounces), bottom 4-5 cm stem removed and rinsed briefly in cold running water
  • 45 g oyster mushrooms or shimeji mushrooms (1.6 ounces), rinsed and separated by hand
  • 2 shiitake mushrooms (20g / 0.7 ounces), cleaned, stem removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 egg optional
  • 1 stalk green onion (10g /0.4 ounces), diagonally thinly sliced

Soup base

Instructions

  • Put the cooking oil, chilli powder, garlic and soy sauce into a pot. Heat the pot on the stove on medium heat and stir the spices well for 1 min. Make sure not to burn the chilli powder.
  • Add the clams and shrimps and stir quickly to coat them with the chilli sauce.
  • Add the dried kelp and anchovy stock and boil it on medium to medium-high heat until it starts to boil rapidly (2 to 3 mins). Add the salt and stir.
  • Add the tofu, in big chunks, mushrooms, and egg and cook them for another 1 to 2 mins.
  • Top up with the green onion, black pepper and sesame oil. Serve hot with Korean steamed rice and side dishes (banchan).

Notes

1 Tbsp = 15 ml

Nutrition

Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 100mg | Sodium: 613mg | Potassium: 754mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 27.3% | Vitamin C: 1.9% | Calcium: 9.8% | Iron: 20.5%
Tried this recipe?I love hearing how you went with my recipes! Leave a comment below or Tag me on Instagram @MyKoreanKitchen.

 

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Written by: Sue

Last Updated: May 20, 2019

Hi, I'm Sue and I am the creator of My Korean Kitchen. Thank you for joining me in this delicious culinary journey!

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39 thoughts on “Sundubu Jjigae (Korean Spicy Soft Tofu Stew)”

  1. So so good! Made for my family and so happy there’s enough for tomorrow too, great depth of flavour and suitable for a strength trainer like me who needs energy blasts in their food! Thank you so much

  2. Hello! I tried out your recipe but I find that the soup base is a little bland and as another reader points out above it don’t quite taste the same as what I would get in a Korean restaurant outside. Of course I totally understand your explanation above too. I have tried the few jjigae recipes from you but I can’t seem to get the soup taste right. It is always too bland and a tad too watery! I use the Dashi stock recipe with small anchovies and Japanese kelp. Did it exactly as per instructed and soaked the kelp overnight too. Any advice would be appreciated!

  3. THIS IS SOOOOO GOOD! I actually tried and now I can always feed my sundubu jjigae addiction at home! Budget friendly as well! Thank you soooo much Sue! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

    • Hi Maria, Just boil the soup a little longer after you add the tofu. Firm tofu might take a while to absorb the full flavor. Hope it still tastes good!

  4. Hi, I tried your recipe but it doesn’t taste the same as the one I had in Korean restaurant..I’m not sure why.

    I used small anchovy instead of big anchovy. Could that be the reason?

    • Hi Lily, I don’t know how to answer your question but I will put it this way. Just like every mom’s kimchi / spaghetti bolognese tastes slightly different, my recipe would naturally result in a slightly different taste to everybody else’s (whether it’s a restaurant version or other home cook’s version.) That would be mainly to do with the ingredients used and their respective ratio.

      As I already mentioned in the post, there are a few different variations when it comes to making sundubu jjigae. Maybe the one you had is made with other ingredients such as with kimchi and other red meat (e.g. beef) as well, which will bring out a totally different depth of flavor.

      But I can also tell you this. My recipe resulted a very close taste to what I had at my local restaurant. It’s all perspective. 🙂

      In regards to your anchovy question, small anchovies are typically used for stir frying, not for broth making. Though, I’m not sure whether that would result in a material difference in taste since I have not used small anchovies for broth making.

  5. Looking forward to other versions of the soup! I’m a vegetarian, and just had a vegetarian version at a Korean restaurant in Berkeley, CA. It was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever had!

    • Hi Elle, Are you talking about chili flakes? Well, that’s actually one of the most important ingredients in this soup.
      But at the end of the day, it’s your call whether to substitute or omit it. 🙂 Please let me know how it turns out without it as I can’t imagine it myself. Thanks!

      FYI, down the track, I will share a soft tofu soup recipe that doesn’t use chili flakes. My approach would be slightly different to this recipe. For one thing, I don’t think I would use cooking oil. So stay tuned!

  6. Thank you so much for posting this! I used to eat this all the time when I was stationed in Korea, many years ago. I can’t wait to make it!

  7. Hi, may I know what kind of chili powder you used to cook this? Is it the same chili powder you used to make kimchii? If I were to make my own chili powder, can I used the dried chili available in market and pound it, instead of drying the fresh chili under the sun?

  8. American English teacher in Seoul. Just tried my first attempt at making 순두부. Was happy with the taste but not the tofu texture. Was nothing like I would get at 김밥천국. Search the internet, find you and learn i’m supposed to cut on the red line of the 두부 and not the pointed end and squeeze out. Look forward to looking through the rest of your recipes. 감사합니다

  9. Thank you for posting this recipe. This turned out GREAT! The spiciness was just perfect – spicy but not overbearing. I did add more salt though. I also added shrimp and squid along with the mushroom and it came out perfrect! I loved the way you make the broth with dry kelp – so healthy and yummy. I’ve always thought this dish was too complicated but it is actually really simple and easy to make. Thank you so much!

  10. oh i just found this site today! i love your dishes! im a very big fan of korean food so I decided to search for recipes. yours look excactly like what i ate today =)
    know i need to know where i can get these pots ><"

    thanks for the post <3

  11. Thanks for the awesome recipe. I attended Yonsei’s Ohhakdang when I was stationed at Uijongbu and I remember getting a bowl of sundubu plus some rice for about 1100 won at the student cafe. Man, was that ever yummy!

    Now if I could ever figure out how to make that dish with the chicken and dumplings. That is one of the many, many other Korean dishes I crave. Korean food is one of the world’s top cuisines, I’m glad to see it’s catching on in other countries.

  12. I’ve got a question about the tofu …

    I bought one a while back and made soondubu with it, but I used the spout instead. It’s so soft! How did you keep it intact, especially when cutting at the dotted line?

  13. Hi Jinnie

    I am so glad to hear that!
    All recipes on this blog are tested couple of times before I post them. So they should taste good.
    If the recipe doesn’t turn out well then I wouldn’t let other people know until I improve it. 🙂
    Thank you.

  14. I tried making this before following other recipes but they just didn’t taste right. Then I came across your recipe and WOW.. I couldn’t believe it tasted just as good if not better than the ones they sell at the sundubu restaurants. My husband was VERY impressed. Thanks for posting!

  15. Hi Alvin,

    I don’t like when the soup boils over, because I need to clean up the gas range afterwards. Though, it is kind of an unavoidable thing. 🙂
    My pot is too small for the amount of ingredients I add.

  16. I peeked into the kitchen at a restaurant in San Jose where they were cooking these things up. I saw that they had the bowls on a grill with the flames shooting up. The bowls were boiling over like crazy but they had a pitcher of broth with which they were constantly refilling them. Thought you might be interested!

    Yours looks just like the kind you get from a restaurant, well done! I’ll have to try it sometime!

  17. I want to get cable to see more American shows especially food programs, but our apartment building doesn’t allow us to drill holes for the antenna on our balconies. 🙁

  18. It is surprise to hear that Korean soap dramas are still popular. Because some TV critics are concerned that Korean fever is dying away.

    Anyway, I haven’t seen any Korea dramas for about 2-3 years now.
    It is so boring. They often use similar story line; rich guy-poor girl’s love (or the other way around), or triangle relationships, or someone’s lover is very ill etc.

    I watch American TV most of the time and some Japanese dramas to keep up with my Japanese study. I recently watched “Stand-up”, which is similar to American pie.

  19. No, I haven’t tried it, will have to when my hubby is not around, he doesn’t care for Korean food too much. I think Korean cuisine is popular here because of the popularity of “Winter Sonata”–the drama with Bae Yong Joon and Che Joo. In fact, a lot of Korean soap operas are popular here. I sometimes tune in to some, but not always, why are they always so sad?

  20. Hi, Kat
    Have you tried it yourself? It is quite nice to have in the cold season.
    I wonder why it is so popular in Japan.

    Hi, Mary
    About the jjigae bowl – I got it for free when I bought 3kg of gochujang at Homeplus. It is a type of “dduk bae gi”. If you can’t get it from E-mart then try dish shops near your home or traditional markets (like Namdaemun). They should have it. Its price starts from 2000 won 🙂 If you can’t find it from dish shops, which is not likely to be a problem, get some help from Korean friends to order it on the internet. Here is the example link from an online shop in Korea.

    About the mandu recipe – I don’t have one yet, though I bought a tool that closes mandu easily and prettily the other day, which implies that I am going to make one soon. 😉

  21. FINALLY! I am very excited about this post. But I have a question. Where do I get the jjigae bowls? I always look at emart, but my mind goes blank and I have no clue what I’m looking for, and about how much do they cost?

    Is there a mandu recipe?

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