This warm and comforting Soondubu Jjigae is loaded with velvety soft tofu, vegetables, and mushrooms all blanketed in a rich and savory broth. This easy recipe calls for simple ingredients to make the best ever Soondubu Jjigae in less than 20 minutes, all in the comfort of your own home!
What is Soondubu Jjigae?
Soondubu Jjigae (순두부찌개), also known as Soondubu Jjigae or soft tofu stew, is a Korean stew made with silky soft (uncurdled) tofu coated in a spicy and flavorful broth, to be served alongside a bowl of steamed rice.
As the name suggests, the highlight of this dish is the Soondubu, which is fresh, unpressed tofu that has high water content, making up for its extra silky velvety texture.
This type of tofu is incredibly soft and tender which easily soaks in all the flavors, and at the same time, maintaining that melt-in-your-mouth texture that this soup is known for.
A warm hug in a bowl
Soondubu Jjigae is easily one of my favorite comfort dishes in Korean cuisine, especially on colder days. The warm and savory soup served in a sizzling hot pot served alongside freshly steamed rice, is always at the center of my cravings.
This dish is also very versatile in the way that there are so many variations of the soup, depending on the spice level and ingredients. Aside from the base of spicy soup and soft tofu, it can include meat, vegetables, and/or seafood depending on your preference.
The recipe I am sharing with you today is one that I’ve been developing over years. It pays homage to Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu (also known as BCD) which is an incredibly popular restaurant chain specializing in Soondubu Jjigae, with locations all over the world.
It’s not an understatement to say that BCD has truly connected me to the taste of home in my university days, and often cured my feelings of homesickness, with their piping hot bowls of Soondubu Jjigae.
As such, I tried my best to replicate the flavors in my own recipe, to create a version that includes all the authentic and delicious flavors, but with a simplified process for you guys to enjoy with ease.
It is also completely vegetarian, but please feel free to add any meat or seafood if you prefer. I personally did not find any meat or seafood in this recipe to be necessary, as it is already so intense in flavor.
What do I need to make Soondubu Jjigae?
Contrary to popular belief, Soondubu Jjigae is incredibly easy to make from scratch. At the beginning of my cooking journey, I must admit, I often resorted to the instant Soondubu packets to make the base soup.
It wasn’t until however, I started making the dish from start to finish, that I realized it was not only it was very simple to make and tasted significantly more delicious (and healthy) when made with fresh ingredients.
With a handful of ingredients, you can make this delicious stew in just under 20 minutes, which most of that time is used to create the anchovy-kelp broth if using. Here is the list of ingredients you will need:
- Soondubu, or Korean soft tofu. You should be able to easily find this in the Korean supermarket. Soondubu is often sold in a regular square container or in a cylinder shape, but I recommend using the latter (pictured above) as it is easy to handle when making soup.
- If none of these options are available, it’s perfectly fine to use regular silken tofu found in standard grocery stores.
- Dried anchovies and kelp to make the soup stock
- These two ingredients are referenced in most of my Korean soup recipes and are the foundation of Korean cooking.
- You can also purchase pre-packaged anchovy broth packets, which is my preferred method as it makes the process so easy and seamless.
- Other options for the broth are vegetable, beef, or chicken stock, although I would adjust the amount of salt in the recipe as commercially packaged stock is often high in sodium.
- If you have none of these on hand, you can also use water to make the soup, but I recommend using a broth if you want more flavor.
- Sesame oil, vegetable oil, onion, green onion: for the aromatics.
- Gochugaru, sugar, garlic, soy sauce, and oyster sauce to flavor the soup.
- Zucchini, mushrooms, and Korean chili pepper (optional)
- Some options for garnish include a freshly cracked egg or chopped green onions.
So long as you have these ingredients ready to go, the process of making Soondubu Jjigae at home is incredibly simple. It calls for a two-step process of making the base stock (which is as easy as making tea) and putting the soup together by using the ingredients above.
What is the best pot to make Soondubu Jjigae with?
Any regular saucepan or pot will work with this recipe, but using a Korean stone pot (Dolsot) like this will take this to the next level, or any Korean dishes for that matter. It is the ideal method for making Korean stews as it maintains the sizzling hot temperature for the duration of your meal.
These stone pots are ideal for many other Korean dishes like Bibimbap or any hot dishes to retain the heat while serving, so truly a great investment if you enjoy making Korean food, or any type of food that calls for that sizzling hot temperature.
They can be used to cook directly on the stovetop directly to your table for serving (with a coaster, of course), and are often oven, microwave, and dishwasher-safe, which makes it to be one of the most versatile cookware to use.
For detailed visual instructions, please refer to the video tutorial above (you will need to disable AdBlock if you are on your computer!).
I hope you enjoy this easy and delicious recipe, and please leave me a comment below or message me on Instagram if you have any questions. Happy cooking! x
Other Korean recipes you may like:
- Korean Marinated Eggs (Mayak Eggs)
- Korean Egg Drop Sandwich
- Kimchi Udon Noodle Stir Fry
- Tteokbokki (Korean Spicy Rice Cakes)
- Korean Glass Noodle Stir-Fry (Japchae)
- Korean Seafood Pancake (Haemul Pajeon)
Soondubu Jjigae (Korean Soft Tofu Stew)
- 2 cups anchovy stock (see notes below) can be replaced with vegetable, beef, chicken stock, or water
- 1 package Soondubu (Korean soon tofu)
- 1 tbsp each sesame oil, vegetable oil
- 1/4 yellow onion diced
- 1/2 green onion chopped, green parts reserved for garnish
- 1 tbsp Gochugaru (Korean chili powder) or to taste
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp each oyster sauce, soy sauce
- 1/4 zucchini diced
- 100 g mushroom enoki, shiitake, or common mushrooms
- 1 Korean chili pepper chopped, optional
- egg and chopped green onions optional, for garnish
- To make the anchovy stock, add 2 1/2 cups of water, 10 dried anchovies, and a slice of dried kelp into a pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the anchovies and kelp, and set aside.
- Heat sesame oil and cooking oil in a pot on medium heat. Add onion and green onion and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add Gochugaru, sugar, garlic, oyster sauce, and soy sauce. Mix to combine.
- Add 2 cups of stock. Once the broth comes to a boil, add zucchini, mushrooms, chili pepper, and tofu. Break up the tofu into 4 pieces.
- Bring to a boil and simmer until the flavors have melded, for about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt to taste, crack an egg if desired, and garnish with green onion. Serve immediately and enjoy!