This warm & comforting Soondubu Jjigae is loaded with velvety soft tofu, vegetables, and mushrooms blanketed in a rich and savory broth. This recipe calls for simple ingredients to make the best soft tofu stew in less than 15 minutes in the comfort of your home.
What is Soondubu Jjigae?
Soondubu Jjigae (순두부찌개), also known as Sundubu Jjigae or soft tofu stew, is a traditional Korean dish 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 while maintaining that melt-in-your-mouth texture that this Korean tofu stew is known for.
Korean soft tofu stew – the ultimate bowl of comfort
Soondubu Jjigae is easily one of my favorite comfort dishes in Korean cuisine. Nothing beats a warm and savory stew on a cold day and when it is served in a sizzling hot pot served alongside freshly steamed rice, it truly is the ultimate comfort meal with rich flavors that are irresistible.
Korean soft tofu soup 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 Korean tofu soup recipe I am sharing with you today is one that I’ve been developing over many 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 deeply 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.
This Korean tofu soup recipe 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, Korean tofu stew is incredibly easy to make from scratch. At the beginning of my cooking journey I 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 tofu stew in less than 15 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 soft or silken tofu found in regular grocery stores.
- Water: or low-sodium chicken broth, vegetable broth, dashi, or Korean anchovy stock for more flavor.
- Sesame oil, vegetable oil, onion, green onion: for the aromatics.
- Gochugaru (Korean chili flakes), sugar, garlic, soy sauce, and oyster sauce to make the chili oil base.
- Zucchini, mushrooms, and Korean chili pepper: or other vegetables, kimchi, seafood, or meat. The flavors of this stew are very versatile in that you can add any ingredients to your liking.
- The spicy and savory soup pairs well with practically anything, so you can be creative with this process.
- Some options for garnish include a freshly cracked egg or chopped green onions.
As long as you have these simple ingredients ready to go, the process of making Soondubu Jjigae at home is incredibly simple and made in a single pot where all the ingredients come together. Truly one of the easiest soups to make!
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 one here is ideal for making soft tofu stew, or any soups/stews for that matter. It is the ideal cookware for preparing hot dishes as it maintains the hot temperature for the whole duration of your meal.
If you enjoy cooking Korean cuisine, these are great to have in your arsenal as these handly little pots can be used directly on the stovetop and transferred directly to the table for serving, and makes for the best overall experience.
In many cases Korean stone pots are also oven, microwave, and dishwasher-safe, making them one of the most versatile types of cookware to use.
Can you add meat, seafood, or kimchi to the stew?
This recipe is vegetarian, but any meat or seafood can be added to your liking. If you are using ground meat, I recommend adding it after the onion, just until it is browned.
To add seafood to the soup, you can add it along with the tofu as it takes a shorter time to cook. And finally, to add kimchi, I recommend using aged kimchi (fermented for 2+ weeks) shortly after the onion to deepen the flavors of the stew.
One of the best parts of this recipe is that the flavors are versatile enough to pair well with various toppings, so please feel free to be creative and have fun with the process!I hope you enjoy this easy and delicious Korean soft tofu soup 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:
- 5-Minute Silken Tofu
- Korean Braised Potatoes (Gamja Jorim)
- Korean Marinated Eggs (Mayak Eggs)
- Dubu Jorim (Korean Braised Tofu)
- Tteokbokki (Korean Spicy Rice Cakes)
- Dakdoritang (Spicy Korean Chicken Stew)
Soondubu Jjigae (Korean Soft Tofu Stew)
- 1 tbsp each sesame oil, vegetable oil or any neutral oil
- 1 green onion chopped, green parts reserved for garnish
- 1/4 onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp Gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) or to taste
- 1 tbsp each soy sauce, oyster sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 cups water or dashi, anchovy stock, or low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/4 zucchini diced
- 100 g mushroom enoki, shiitake, or button mushrooms
- 1 chili pepper chopped, optional
- 1 package (11 oz) Korean soft tofu or regular soft or silken tofu
- egg optional
- Heat sesame oil and vegetable oil in a pot over medium heat. Add green onion and onion and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add garlic, Gochugaru, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar and mix to combine.
- Add stock or water. Once it comes to a boil, add zucchini, mushrooms, chili pepper, and soft tofu. Using a spoon, slice the tofu into 4 large 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 with a side of rice and enjoy!