SUNDUBU JJIGAE 순두부찌개 (SPICY SOFT TOFU STEW)
Easy Sundubu Jjigae
My quick and easy Sundubu Jjigae (Soft Tofu Stew) recipe. Pork, kimchi and soft tofu in a spicy, comforting stew. Ready in less than 20 minutes.
Watch My Easy Sundubu Jjigae Recipe Video (2m 25s)
Sundubu Jigae (Soft Tofu Stew) is definitely one of the easiest Korean stews to make and the taste is fantastic. It is great for breakfast, lunch or dinner (yes, Koreans eat spicy breakfasts!). It makes you warm and cozy. And the texture and taste of the soft tofu is amazing AND it’s extremely good for you.
It is November already! In England where I live, it gets colder earlier than South Korea. In Korea, it starts from around November, 20th. But, here it starts from around early October. Winter is longer here than in Korea.
I prefer warm weather to cold. I even miss Korean summers since I moved to England. I used to complain about the heat and humidity, but since we only had about 5 days of good weather all summer in the UK, I’ve decided to never complain about Korean summers ever again! But, it gets pretty cold in Korea in winter as low as -20°C/-4°F. As it is sooo cold, we eat soups and stews quite often to warm ourselves up.
This soup is a lot of people’s favourite. Even most foreigners who live in or visit Korea love this dish very much. What’s not to like about a spicy pork stew! A Canadian woman I know, who works as an English teacher, confessed she would eat this soft tofu from the plastic container in the supermarket. She loves this tofu and this soup soooo much that she misses it when she goes back home to visit her family.
When I was in university, a new restaurant opened specializing in Sundubu Jjigae (순두부찌개) near my university. In Korea, there are restaurants and cafes everywhere. I mean everywhere! I was surprised there aren’t that many restaurants and cafes in UK. In my hometown, you can throw a stone and hit 5 restaurants without even trying. Where I live in the UK, I would have to be Supergirl to be able to hit 1! And I don’t live in the countryside.
Anyway, someone went to that restaurant and told us the stew was amazing. Rumours spread fast amongst students. Two of my friends and I went to the restaurant and of course ordered the Sundubu Jjigae. We heartily ate the stew, rice and a few side dishes. God bless them! The taste of the stew was fantastic! We became regulars. The queue for lunch was really long, but, everyone didn’t mind waiting for the gorgeous stew to come. Even in the freezing cold. It was really that good.
My mum didn’t cook Sundubu Jjigae very often. So, this stew always reminds of my university lunchtime in that cozy restaurant.
After I moved to UK, I had to find a recipe to make this soup. I couldn’t believe how easy it is to make and how tasty it is when you make it at home. Be sure to buy soft tofu rather than the firm version. You can buy it in most Asian supermarkets. You can replace the pork with clams, mussels, prawns/shrimps or beef. The most important part of the recipe is using chilli oil. You can buy it if you can find quality chilli oil. It is difficult to buy good quality chilli oil where I live, so, I have to make chilli oil.
Try not to burn the Gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder) when you make chilli oil. Keep the pan on a very low heat and keep stirring until you can smell the spicy oil. It is very very easy to burn. Watch my video above if you aren’t sure. It takes less than 10 minutes to make but the taste is world class! Enjoy!
Here’s my recipe for Easy Kimchi.
- 4 Tbsp Sesame Oil
- 1 tsp Garlic
- 2 Tbsp Korean Red Pepper Powder
- ½ Onion, chopped in small pieces
- 200g Pork, chopped into 1 cm cubes 1cm
- 1 cup Kimchi
- 3 Cups Water
- 2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
- 1 Courgette, chopped into half semi-circle slices ¼ cm thick
- 2 Soft Tofu (800g)
- A Pinch of Sea Salt
- A Pinch of Black Pepper
- 1 Spring Onion, finely chopped
- ⅓ Green Chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
- ⅓ Red Chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
- Pour the sesame oil in a pan over a low heat. Add the mashed garlic and fry for 2-3 minutes. When it has browned slightly, add the Korean red pepper powder. Make sure not to burn it. It is very easy for the red pepper powder to get burnt. Keep stirring until the oil, garlic and red peper powder are cooked though. You will be able to smell the sweetness of the chilli oil. It will be a dark red. Black is not a good colour.
- Add the onion, chopped pork, and kimchi. Mix everything together with a spoon.
- When everything is mixed together, stir occasionally until the kimchi is cooked.
- Pour in 3 cups of water and add the fish sauce.
- Bring to the boil and add the courgette and soft tofu.
- Add a pinch of sea salt, a pinch of black pepper, the chopped spring onions and chillies. Add more salt or pepper to taste if needed.