Soondubu jjigae (순두부 찌개) is a stew made with smooth tofu curds, soondubu (also spelled sundubu), also known as silken or extra soft tofu. This is the third soondubu jjigae recipe on the blog. The stew is more commonly made spicy as I showed in the other two recipes — kimchi soondubu and haemul (seafood) soondubu. Sometimes, I like it purely white without any red spiciness for the simple pleasure of savoring the nuttiness of the silky tofu.
You can make white soondubu stew with any broth or add-ins, but my favorite is one made with finely ground perilla seeds (deulkkae). It really gives the creamy tofu distinct nutty flavors! Most restaurants specializing in soondubu have this deulkkae variation on their menu.
Although not as common as sesame seeds and oil, perilla seeds and oil are a staple in Korean cuisine. Perilla seeds have a deep, earthy taste with a hint of minty flavor similar to that of perilla leaves. They are used in various dishes such as namul dishes and stews and especially popular in country-style and temple cooking.