Spicy soft tofu stew with seafood

Haemul sundubu-jjigae 해물 순두부찌개

Sundubu-jjigae (sometimes spelled soondubu-jjigae) is a spicy, seasoned stew made with a type of silky soft tofu called sundubu. Served hot at the table in its traditional earthenware bowl, it’s impossible to resist. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like sundubu-jjigae after they tried it. All it takes is one time!

If you go to a Korean sundubu-jjigae restaurant you’ll be surprised at how many varieties they make. This version is my favorite. When I go to the restaurant I always choose the seafood version, and it’s the one I most like to make at home, too. I’ve created a sundubu-jjigae section on my website that includes all the sundubu-jjigae recipes I’ve made so far. If you follow any of those recipes exactly, you will have some really delicious stew!

Usually we Koreans have sundubu-jjigae in a Korean earthenware bowl, but so many of you have told me over the years that you can’t get that bowl, or want to feed more people than you have bowls, so I’m including a serving alternative at the end of this recipe that explains how to serve it in regular bowls.

I have a funny story about Korean earthenware bowls (ttukbaegi). When I was making my first cookbook, my editor Rux and my literary agent came over to my house in New York for lunch. I made them bibimbap in Korean earthenware bowls. Rux was surprised to see me doing this, she said “Oh, where can I buy those bowls?”

I said “At a Korean grocery store! Do you want me to help you buy one?”

She said “Sure!” So we took a taxi down to Koreatown on 32nd street. She bought a lot of them, maybe 7 or 8 bowls! They were so heavy. Rux doesn’t even live in New York, she lives in Vermont. I helped her take all those heavy bowls to her hotel and then she later took them all the way home to Vermont in her car. Ever since we made that cookbook she’s been cooking Korean food all the time and has become better and better at it. Her whole family are big fans of Korean food now, all the way to her granddaughter, and she says she’s the Maangchi of Vermont now.

I chose large shrimp in my recipe but you don’t have to use shrimp that big. Just use smaller shrimp or even cocktail shrimp and the broth will still be delicious.

I wanted to show you a typical sundubu-jjigae table setting in the video. What you need to do is completely set the table with the side dishes and everything so that when the sundubu-jjigae is bubbling on the stove you can bring it right out to serve, directly on to the table. If you keep it boiling on the stove while you set up the table, the seafood will get tough and the sundubu-jjigae will actually boil down, which you really don’t want.

Enjoy the recipe! I hope you become the Maangchi of your area! : )haemul sundubu jjigae

Ingredients (for 2 servings)

Directions

  1. Combine the hot pepper flakes, sesame oil, and black pepper in a small bowl. Mix well with a spoon until the hot pepper flakes absorb all the oil. Set aside.mixture of hot pepper flakes
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, the chopped white part of the green onion, and mushroom. Stir with a wooden spoon until the onion and garlic are slightly brown and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock. Cover and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until it’s boiling vigorously.
  3. Add shrimp, oysters, and mussels. Cut the tubes of tofu in half and squeeze them into the boiling stew, and then break up the tofu a bit with a wooden spoon. If using silken tofu, scoop or squeeze from the box into the stew.sundubu
  4. Add the fish sauce (or salt to your taste), half of the hot pepper mixture, and stir a few times.spicy soft tofu stew
  5. Cover and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the seafood is fully cooked and the broth is infused with its savory flavor.

2 ways to serve:

Serve in Korean earthenware bowls:

  1. Ladle the stew into 2 earthenware bowls (2½ cup bowls work best) and place them on the stove top. Heat them up over high heat. Add the leftover seasoning mixture on top of the stew in each bowl.seafood sundubujjigaespicy soft tofu stew with seafood
  2. When the stews starts bubbling, crack the eggs into each bowl. Cook for another minute until vigorously boiling. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the green part of the chopped green onion over top. spicy soft tofu stew with seafood
  3. Serve right away while it’s bubbling, with rice, kimchi, and more side dishes on the side.

Serve in regular soup bowls:

  1. Add the second half of the seasoning mixture to the boiling stew in the pot and mix it in a bit. Carefully crack the eggs into the bubbling stew, and cook for 1 or 2 minutes until the eggs are slightly (or half) cooked. Remove from the heat.
  2. Gently ladle the stew into two soup bowls without disturbing the eggs. Scoop up each egg and place one in each bowl.
  3. Sprinkle the green part of the chopped green onion over top and serve right away with rice, kimchi, and more side dishes.

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500 Comments:

  1. jasperridge San Diego, California joined 2/14 & has 7 comments

    I’ve made this dish several times now and I love how much you can play around with ingredients. Today I used shrimp and thin slices of wagyu beef. And I cheated on the broth using dashi powder.


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  2. PammyC Rhode Island joined 1/18 & has 1 comment

    Followed the recipe omitting the beef, seafood and egg. I used mushrooms in place of the beef. It was excellent. Although next time I may only less fish sauce.


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  3. Mwcho123 Houston joined 1/17 & has 2 comments

    How many servings does this make? I want to make it for three people. I will have rice, Asian chive side dish, and the bean paste flavored bok choy as sides. Will it be enough or should I increase the recipe?

  4. Hi Maangchi, I was wondering if what is another substitute for making your broth? I have a regular dried fish but not anchovies though, and also the kelp? Our Asian store here has a very limited stuff which is not fun for me, I am from the Philippines and I can eat stuff that will smoke my ear out hehe well, I would love to try this but I dont think I can make this with just a dried shiitake mushroom on hand. ( Dried fish will do? ) Thank you.

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