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

 
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Korean stew made with silken tofu
 
4.2 from 5 votes
Haemul Sundubu Jjigae (Seafood Soft Tofu Stew)
Cook Time
15 mins
 

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!

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
  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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)
  5. 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)
  6. 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.

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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. Apoorva Sai says:
    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!
  15. 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!
  16. 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.
  17. Laurence says:
    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
    • I have a mild version on the blog. See here: http://www.koreanbapsang.com/2012/02/daegu-tangjiri-mild-cod-fish-stew.html You can add some gochugaru to make it spicy if you want.
  18. 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!
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.