Haemul Sundubu Jjigae (Seafood Soft Tofu Stew)

This bubbling hot, hearty stew is made with extra soft tofu (sundubu or soondubu) and seafood. It cooks up so fast, making it perfect for a weeknight meal!
 
Korean stew made with silken tofu
 
The Korean stew (jjigae, 찌개) made with sundubu (or soondubu, 순두부) is enormously popular both in and outside Korea. There are even tofu houses that specialize in this dish, offering several variations (seafood, meat, vegetables, combination, etc.) on the menu. For me, sundubu jjigae is a flavorful, hearty stew I can quickly whip up in less than 30 minutes, making it perfect for a weeknight meal. I always keep a package or two of sundubu in the fridge. I think you should too. Here’s a variation made with seafood (haemul, 해물)!

This haemul sundubu jjigae recipe was originally posted in February 2012. It’s updated here with new photos and minor changes to the recipe.
 
Korean stew made with soft tofu

What is sundubu (or soondubu)? 

Sundubu is unpressed tofu with high water content. It’s normally labeled as extra soft tofu in English, and also known as silken tofu. However, Korean sundubu is not exactly the same as silken tofu which usually comes in a square box and in different consistencies such as soft, firm, and extra firm. Sundubu only comes in extra soft consistency. 

Whenever I make a sundubu jjigae, I remember 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 which is tofu with 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!

sundubu (Korean silken tofu)

How to make sundubu jjigae

I like to use anchovy broth, which is typical, but beef or vegetable broth will also work well. If you have a commercially prepared anchovy packet, making anchovy broth is as easy as making a tea.

While you can always use chili oil, I simply saute some gochugaru in sesame oil to create the chili oil effect. You can then sauté whatever ingredients you are using with the chili infused oil. Using the same basic technique, you can make different variations of sundubu jjigae.

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 soft tofu nicely contrasts with the spicy broth and bold flavors of chili infused oil and seafood, making a delicious stew. Who can resist this bubbling pot of hearty stew on a cold day? Or, any day?

More sundubu jjigae variations

Kimchi sundubu jjigae
Deulkkae sundubu jjigae

 
Have you tried this recipe?  Please rate the recipe below by either clicking the stars or leaving a comment! And make sure to share your creations by tagging me on Instagram! Stay in touch by following me on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
 
Korean stew made with silken tofu
 
DSC 0106 150x150 - Haemul Sundubu Jjigae (Seafood Soft Tofu Stew)
Print Recipe
4.42 from 17 votes

Haemul Sundubu Jjigae (Seafood Soft Tofu Stew)

This bubbling hot, hearty stew is made with extra soft tofu (sundubu or soondubu) and seafood. It cooks up so fast, making it perfect for a weeknight meal!
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Korean
Servings: 2
Author: Hyosun

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

Instructions

  • 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.
    Korean stew made with soft tofu
  • 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.) 
    Korean stew made with soft tofu
  • Add the meat, onion, garlic, and soy sauce. Stir fry until the pork and onion are almost cooked, 2 - 3 minutes.
    Korean stew made with soft tofu
  • Pour in the broth (or water). Bring it to a boil and continue to boil for 3 - 4 minutes.
    Sundubu jjigae (Korean soft tofu stew)
  • 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.
    Sundubu jjigae (Korean soft tofu stew)
  • 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.
Tried this recipe?Mention @koreanbapsang or tag #koreanbapsang!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you for the recipe! My husband and daughter loved it.

    Since my daughter is still 1.5 years old, she can’t eat spicy food yet. So I omitted the chili and added ground sesame seeds and a little bit of fish sauce. And I used chicken stock because that’s what I had.

  2. 5 stars
    Love!!! I was out of many ingredients and added just one teaspoon of doenjang to give it more body. Came out amazing and my husband loved it too. All your recipes are wonderful and your blog has helped me learn to make my favorite Korean foods! Someday I would love to buy a paper cookbook of Korean Bapsang : )

  3. Can I cut out the gochugaru if my kids can’t handle the spice?

  4. Hello Hyosun!
    I made this tonight and shared with a friend. Her husband loves this dish. I followed the recipe almost exactly except I added scallops- which were delicious! I need to add them toward the end as they were a little over cooked.
    I made the most flavorful anchovy stock and I now realize I won’t ever be without it!! So rich and delicious. Honestly, I think your version was better than I’ve ever tasted.

  5. This is one of my favourite whenever I go Korean restaurant. Can I use normal chili flakes instead of gochugaru? Thanks

    • hmmm If you are talking about coarsely ground chili pepper flakes used in Italian cooking or over pizza, it will turn out quite differently. But, I’m sure it will still give a strong spicy kick.

  6. Robert Zhang says

    Hi Hyuson!

    I’ve just made this and it’s good. The only thing is I might have added too many clams (8-9 pieces), and they gave the soup a really… clammy taste, not in a good way. It almost tastes like really “hard” water with the taste of the shells. What went wrong?

    • As you mentioned, it might have been too many clams for a package of soondubu. Also possible some of clams might not have been fresh. Just use a little next time.

  7. Love the site but I wish you would format the recipes to print without having to cut & paste. Less images would save much Ink & Paper.

    • I’ve been doing that with recent recipes and slowly going back and redoing old ones as much as I can. Hope to get to this one soon too. Thanks, and happy cooking!

  8. do you know how to cook Sangsun Jigae
    I have seen it in a lot of Korean restaurant in Canada but I cannot find a resepie for it

  9. Hello there,

    I’m a college student living in America, and cooking traditional Korean foods like this stew can honestly be very time-consuming and tedious in the midst of my lifestyle – but I’m such a big fan of Korean food that setting aside a good day to buy ingredients and make a solid Korean dinner is always immensely satisfying ! Thank you so much for your amazing recipes, this website is one of my favorites.

  10. I am so glad that I found your blog! This recipe looks so good that I am drooling. I can’t wait to try it!

  11. 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!

  12. 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/

  13. 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

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

    • Sorry for the delayed response. Comments from anonymous usually go to the spam box. Yes, you can use other type of soft tofu. Enjoy!

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Anonymous says

    nice idea.. thanks for sharing.

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

  19. Roxana GreenGirl {A little bit of everything} says

    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

  20. 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!

    • Thank you, Charles! Can describe that dish? I might be able to recognize. I am curious what your favorite Korean dish is.

  21. beyondkimchee says

    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!

  22. 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!

    • Hi sb – It’s fun to eat sundubu at a restaurant. It’s also very easy to make it at home. Hope you try it. Enjoy!

  23. Cook with Susan says

    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.

  24. Nami | Just One Cookbook says

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

    • Thank you, Nami! Good idea. Hope he makes it. If he does, ask him to make it less spicy so you can have some as well.

    • Nami | Just One Cookbook says

      He did like it and he said he’ll give it a try. I have to ask him to make a separate pot because I know he really want it to be spicy! 😉

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