Haemul Sundubu Jjigae (Seafood Soft Tofu Stew)

This stew reminds me of my trip to Gyeongju, a historic city in the southeast coast of Korea, a few years ago. It was our first meal after a long train ride from Seoul. Recommended by the hotel staff, we ate at a restaurant well-known for its freshly made sundubu (also spelled soondubu), uncurdled tofu, which has a high water content. The bustling restaurant, which had been converted from an old traditional house, had a homey feel. They make their tofu the old-fashioned way, using maetdol (grinding stone) and seawater. Needless to say, it was unbelievably fresh and delicious – the best sundubu I’ve ever had!

The stew, jjigae, made with sundubu is enormously popular both in and outside Korea. If you’re lucky, you might have a good tofu house near you that specializes in this dish, offering several variations (seafood, meat, vegetables, combination, etc.) on the menu. The secret to making this restaurant favorite at home is in the broth. Take the time to make a good broth. I like to use anchovy broth, which is typical, but beef or vegetable broth will also work well. Using the same basic technique, you can make different variations. Whatever you do, let the soft tofu be the star of the dish and do not overcrowd it with a lot of other ingredients. The delicate sundubu nicely contrasts with the spicy broth and bold flavors, making a delicious stew. Who can resist this bubbling bowl of hearty stew on a cold day?

1-2 Servings

Ingredients:

1 package (11 ounces) sundubu (extra soft/silken tofu)
2 ounces beef or pork (rib eye, sirloin, pork loin or pork belly)
7 – 8 pieces of seafood assortment (shrimp, mussels, clams, and/or oysters)
1/2 small zucchini (2 – 3 ounces)
1/4 onion (2 – 3 ounces)
1 scallion

1 tablespoon red chili pepper flakes (gochugaru)- adjust to taste.

1 teaspoon sesame oil (use a little more if using more gochugaru)
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon soy sauce
salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)
pinch pepper
1 cup anchovy broth (or other broth or water)

1 egg (optional)

Cut the meat into small (about 1-inch long) thin strips. Clean the seafood. Cut the the zucchini into about 1-inch pieces. Dice the onion and scallion.

Add the red chili pepper flakes and sesame oil to a small pot, and place it over medium heat. Stir until the pepper flakes become a bit pasty in the heating pot. (The red chili pepper flakes burn easily, so do not preheat the pot.) Add the meat, onion, garlic, and soy sauce. Stir fry until the pork and onion are almost cooked, 2 – 3 minutes.

Pour in the broth (or water). Bring it to a boil and continue to boil for 3 – 4 minutes.

Add the soft tofu in big chunks along with the zucchini. Bring to a boil again. Gently stir at the bottom of the pot once or twice so the tofu does not stick to the bottom. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes.

Add the seafood and boil until the clams and mussels open, 2 – 3 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the chopped scallion right before turning the heat off. If desired, crack an egg into the stew right before serving while it’s still boiling hot.

Comments

  1. Beautiful and looks very delicious! I need to send this to my husband who LOOOOOVES sundubu!

  2. This looks so wonderful, I cant wait to make it! I have never used the tofu in a tube before, are there different textures or are they all silken? Thanks for teaching me the tips and tricks to Korean cooking. I look forward to each and every one of your post.

    • Hi Susan – Thanks for stopping by and for the nice words. Sundubu can have a little different texture depending on brands, but all commercially packaged ones are mostly very silky.

  3. This is one of my favorites! I used to go to a “tofu” restaurant recently opened near me but I haven’t had a chance to try them yet. Maybe I should learn to make it myself!

  4. It is midnight here and I want that pot of sundubu with hot popping rice for my mid-night snack… You got me to crave that, Hyosun!

  5. Oh, what a wonderfully rich colour – so vibrant! I meant to ask you Hyosun – if I find the name of a Korean dish which I absolutely adore, could I send it to you – maybe you know a good recipe for it? I’ll need to wait until I go back to the restaurant to get the name, but it’s just incredibly good. If I could make it myself I’d be in heaven!

  6. sometimes I think I don’t care much for tofu because I have probably never had it cooked the proper way.
    this soup sounds so satisfying, we’re now having some cold days. this would warm our tummies

  7. Anonymous says:

    I made this last night and it was delicious. Thank you for all your wonderful recipes.

  8. Anonymous says:

    nice idea.. thanks for sharing.

  9. Seafood Soft Tofu Stew recipe taste is good and very colorful. I found some variety Seafood recipe and it is good for health. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Heejin Kang says:

    I couldn’t find soontofu at the local store but just used the soft jjigaetofu. Not the same, I know, but it was still good. I hope to use the real thing next time.

  11. could any tofu be used ? or does the one you use need to be ?

  12. Anonymous says:

    hello: I am interested in copying your recipe but I see no print button. I don’t want to print the entire blog with comments. Is there a print option? thanks Karen

  13. This looks amazing! I love the seafood added to the Jjigae! I’ve tried this recipe but tweaked a little bit. Used beef mince and tofu. I will definitely try it with seafood next time. :)

    http://camerashake.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/easysoondubujjigae/

  14. mon son says:

    wow! it looks Good, i am craving thanks for the post and ill do it once i got home this weekend…. I love it Ta!

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