Spicy Kimchi Soft Tofu Stew (Sundubu Jjigae)

October 3, 2023

Dive into the essence of Korea’s culinary treasures with the Spicy Kimchi Soft Tofu Stew, known locally as Sundubu Jjigae. This dish, a harmonious concoction of soft tofu, vibrant kimchi, and a rich broth, stands as a testament to Korean comfort food. Embodying both heat and comfort, its flavors dance on the palate, offering an authentic experience. Follow this guide to craft a Sundubu Jjigae that truly captures the heart of Korean cuisine.

Embracing Sundubu Jjigae not only guarantees a flavor adventure but introduces a wellspring of health benefits. Marrying the protein punch of tofu with kimchi’s probiotic prowess, this stew promises a nourishing meal that invigorates the body. Plus, the inherent spicy kick acts as a natural body warmer, making it an ideal dish for those colder days. Personalizing the spice intensity ensures each bowl you craft reflects your unique flavor preference.


For the Fiery Soft Tofu & Kimchi:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup matured kimchi, diced
  • 1/4 cup kimchi brine
  • 1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean chili flakes)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 pack (14 oz) silken tofu, in chunks
  • 1/2 cup optional protein (shrimp, clams, mussels, or meat)
  • 2 spring onions, snipped
  • 1 egg per serving (Optional)
  • Season with salt & pepper

On the Side:

  • Steamed rice
  • Extra kimchi for flair


1. Starting with the Basics:

  • Heat oil in a pot or traditional Korean dolsot over a medium flame. Add onions and garlic, cooking until they’re soft and aromatic.

2. Kimchi and Spice Time:

  • Introduce diced kimchi, cooking until it softens. Blend in gochugaru and soy sauce, letting the kimchi soak up the flavors.

3. Building the Broth:

  • Combine the stock with kimchi brine, mixing thoroughly. Let it simmer, allowing the kimchi to elevate the broth’s taste.

4. Tofu and Protein Addition:

  • Carefully integrate the tofu chunks. If you’re adding protein, now’s the moment to toss it in, enhancing the stew’s richness.

5. Final Touches:

  • Taste-test and season as needed. Sprinkle in spring onions for a touch of zest.

6. Sundubu Jjigae Presentation:

  • For an extra touch, crack an egg into the bubbling stew right before it’s served. As you serve, ensure each bowl boasts tofu, kimchi, and the delectable broth. Pair with rice and garnish with kimchi.

Congratulations! You’ve conjured a Sundubu Jjigae masterpiece, an emblem of Korea’s gastronomic brilliance. This creation is not just a meal but an experience, one that exudes warmth, tradition, and zest. Sharing it amplifies the joy, making each serving a testament to Korea’s rich culinary tapestry. So, set the ambiance, get your ingredients, and lose yourself in the ritual of crafting and savoring Sundubu Jjigae, a dish that truly speaks the language of the Korean soul.

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