One of the most well-known and well-loved spicy Korean stews is Soondubu Jigae, also known as soft tofu stew.
Pork, kimchi, silken tofu, and an egg cracked on top make for a tasty and surprisingly simple home-cooked meal. The entire dish can be prepared in the same pot in which the stock was made.
Soondubu can be prepared in a standard stockpot or a ttukbaegi. This traditional Korean earthenware pot can be set on top of a stovetop burner.
You can find these in many H-Marts and other Korean supermarkets, as well as online. Although this recipe only calls for a single small pot of soondubu, it is enough for two servings, so we have the smaller single-serving size as well.
The recipe has been modified.
This recipe is loosely based on one created by Maangchi, the online king of Korean cuisine. The ingredients are nearly identical to hers, though I have modified the preparation method.
It can be challenging to properly incorporate ingredients at different stages of cooking when using one of those tiny Korean earthenware pots.
- 10 large dried anchovies with heads and belly removed
- 1 package of silken tofu
- 2 eggs
- 1 scallion (diced)
- 1 piece of dried kelp (6×4 inches)
- 3 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 5 cups of water
- 1 cup of pork belly (cut into small pieces)
- 1 cup of roughly chopped kimchi
- ⅓ of a small, peeled, washed, and sliced thinly daikon radish
- 4 tablespoons of Korean chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- 2 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 thinly sliced small onion
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- Anchovy stock should be made first. Add 5 cups of water to a medium pot and add the trimmed anchovies, radish slices, kelp, and shiitake mushrooms. Start a boil with the water. Reduce heat to medium and simmer the stock for 25 minutes after it comes to a boil.
- Sift the stock after 25 minutes. Keep the mushrooms to use in your soondubu, and slice them thinly.
- You can begin building the soondubu now. Prepare a medium flame in a small pot or your trusty earthenware Korean stew pot. The earthenware pot needs a few minutes to reach temperature, so be patient. If you heat it too quickly, the pot could crack.
- Put the oil in the pan and then add the onions and garlic. (Note that if you’re using two separate individual serving pots to make these two portions, you’ll need to divide all the ingredients in half.)
- Cook the onions in a stir-fry until they become transparent. The pork belly should be added at this point, and the heat should be turned up to high. Caramelize and brown to taste. Mix in the sliced mushrooms and kimchi.
- Season with salt, sugar, Korean chili flakes, and sesame oil, then pour in about 1 1/3 cups of the anchovy stock (or 2/3 cup each for the individual pots). Mix the ingredients together by stirring.
- When ready, add the tofu, using about half a tube or a quarter of a standard block (if you are using a Korean brand that comes in cylindrical form). Large pieces of tofu should be broken up gently. Start a boil in the soondubu.
- Place an egg in each pot’s lid and microwave it for a minute.
- Garnish with scallions and serve over white rice with extra kimchi on the side.