Sundubu Jjigae ~ Soft Tofu Stew
Recipes for the popular Korean tofu stew, Sundubu (soft tofu) Jjigae (stew), are flexible. The recipes always include red chili powder and soft tofu, then perhaps add fresh vegetables and/or kimchi; the broth can be anchovy stock, chicken stock, or vegetable broth or water; it can be vegetarian or made with beef, pork belly, or seafood; the salty component can come from soy sauce, fish sauce or salt; sometimes an egg is added… sometimes not.
It’s spicy, silky, salty, and ultimately satisfying. It is a fast and easy dish, changing ingredients with whatever is at hand. Steamed white rice is served on the side to complement and balance the bubbling hot stew.
Sundubu Jjigae Recipe
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Kimchi Stew with Kale, Pork, and Silken Tofu ~ Soondubu Jjigae
My non-traditional version of the popular Korean tofu stew, soondubu jJigae, is flexible. I always start with kimchi and silken tofu, then perhaps add vegetables such as spinach, mushrooms, or daikon; broth can be anchovy stock, chicken stock, or vegetable broth; it can be vegetarian or made with ground pork, beef, pork belly, or seafood; the salty component can come from soy sauce, or fish sauce, or salt; I sometimes add an egg… or not. I make this fast and easy stew often, changing ingredients with whatever is at hand.
I especially like the myriad of flavors, textures, and colors; it’s spicy, silky, and very satisfying. Last night, there was plenty of kale in the fridge, so that went into the stew as well.
My method is somewhat unorthodox too. I always like to cook the meat ahead of time and drain off the excess saturated fat. Then I use the more healthier olive oil to cook the stew. Flavorful toasted sesame oil is used as a finishing oil only, not in the cooking process.
Note: for a more standard version of soondubu jjigae, please visit any of the fabulous Korean bloggers in the side bar below.
Kimchi and Silken Tofu Stew Recipe
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Veggie Broth, Crispy Tofu, Gai Lan
Watermelon Radish, Carrot, Bok Choy, Sesame Chili Oil
Have you received a copy of a food magazine in the mail with a cover photo that absolutely floors you? February 2018 Bon Appetit did that for me. There was no way that I wasn’t going to “Cook The Cover” and make that gorgeous Crispy Tofu in Shiitake Broth.
Alas, time passed and I didn’t make it. But, last Saturday’s trip to the Torrance Farmers Market gave me the inspiration…it came from a vegetarian Korean food booth called Dave’s Gourmet Korean Food with a sample of his hot “Vegee Broth.” It was amazing – complex flavors in a vegetarian broth made with fermented vegetable juice, sea salt, low sodium gluten-free soy sauce, and miso.
As I walked the market, watermelon radish and bok choy remembered from that February magazine cover ended up in my basket. I already had carrots and firm tofu at home.
One ingredient that is not in Bon Appetit’s recipe was beautiful Gai Lan, also known as Chinese broccoli. Slightly bitter and slightly sweet, with tasty broad leaves, petite buds, a few pretty white flowers, and tender stems – this had to be added to my version of the vegetable soup.
Here is the link to the original recipe by Bon Appetit, and my adaptations are listed below. Those in the Los Angeles area can find Dave’s Vegee Broth at various Farmers Markets across the county. If you are not in LA, simply follow the original broth recipe. It will take a little longer but be, no doubt, worth your time.
Veggie Broth, Crispy Tofu, Gai Lan Recipe
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Pickled Tofu Carpaccio, Beet Syrup, Asian Slaw
By his own admission, he’s not a tofu guy. But my brother Don is definitely a foodie. Never met a foie gras he didn’t like. Tofu does not elicit even a glimmer of interest or enthusiasm. He trusts his sister though, so when she offers him a vibrant pickled tofu carpaccio – he definitely gives it a try.
Not to my surprise, it receives a big thumbs up. With the combination of exotic spices, sweet and hot juxtaposed to crunchy and soft elements, he advises to try all the flavors in one bite – calling it both a science experiment and a volcanic eruption.
Pickled Tofu Carpaccio, Beet Syrup, Asian Slaw Recipe
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Shiitake, Black Kale, Tofu & Seaweed Soup
Sesame, Scallion, Sriracha Garnish
Woodsy. Earthy. Deep.
This is one intense vegan soup that offers full epicurean contentment.
meaty shiitake mushroom, robust kale, subtly sweet ocean-y wakame seaweed,
toasty sesame oil, tangy hot sriracha
heady, intense, wet forest, earthy
steamy broth, chewy kale, silky shiitake, slippery wakame, spongy tofu, crunchy sesame seed
deep dark broth, midnight-green wakame and kale, spring-green scallion, electric red sriracha
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