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)


  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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  1. Milotic FL, USA joined 11/10 & has 1 comment

    I found your website recently and I can’t wait to try making this at home! You’re adorable!

  2. Hi Maangchi, thanks again for another great recipe! I just made your soondubu jjigae and everyone loved it :) I featured my adapted recipe on my blog to share with my readers since it was so yummy! (Photos at link)

    thanks again!

  3. i am so excited to make this!!!! can’t wait.
    i just love this dish.
    my favorite kind is with kimchi.
    can you tell me how to make it with that?

    thank you!

  4. Thuy Chu Portland, OR, USA joined 11/10 & has 1 comment

    Hi, Thank you so very much for the recipe! I love it!!!! My craving for Korean soup is now satisfied :))
    P.S you look fabulous ^^

  5. amythecarr Seoul, South Korea joined 10/10 & has 5 comments

    We are living in Korea and have made SoonDoBoo many times (but without a recipe… we were just guessing.) We have a doubt… here, we buy the live clams, but we aren’t sure when to add them to our dolsot… before the tofu? after the tofu?

  6. docpark US joined 5/10 & has 17 comments

    I tried this recipe and it is GREAT.

    Picture and pontification below

  7. Your recipe looks delish! I tried it out but I failed with the broth/stock and I didn’t have hot pepper flakes. I used the 13 anchovies and i left it in it’s original state, i added half an onion and shitake mushrooms but the broth came out very bland. I also used paprika flakes instead of the hot pepper because I didn’t have it on hand.Is it because i didn’t have enough anchovies?I’m very new to cooking so I didn’t really know how to make the broth to come out great like you. Can I just replace it with Anchovy or Chicken broth? Will it taste just as good?

  8. MandyCakes Florida joined 9/10 & has 11 comments

    The tofu was very good in the stew. My broth didn’t come out good. I think I bought the wrong kind of fish. Mine are very skinny and small. The broth tasted like water and spice. Need to try this again with the right fish.

  9. Nan Monrovia joined 8/10 & has 1 comment

    Oh by the way, could it be the stone pot?? I didn’t use it. It just seems missing some ingredients in the soup. Thank you so much!! =)


    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      ? ? Add more ingredients and develop your own recipe plz. Make more delicious stock.
      This is my recipe and I love it. I had to erase your previous comment because you left the specific address of the restaurant that you recommend. If you want to share your favorite restaurant info, leave it on the forum. Many of my readers let me know they make delicious soondubu jjigae with regular pot. Good luck with making delicious soondubu jjigae!

  10. kyootty California joined 7/10 & has 4 comments

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I never considered myself as much of a cook, but I made this last night and it turned out soooo good. You’re right! It IS better than a lot of restaurants. Your instructions were very easy to follow and your video was very helpful. Can’t wait to try your other recipes. Thank you thank you!

  11. Desmond joined 7/10 & has 1 comment

    I really love Soondubu jjigae alot and I’m thinking of making it myself by purchasing soy bean paste and pepper flakes from the korean grocery shop here??? I’m wondering if it the taste will turn out to be what I always had in a restaurant? Or should i just use a normal chicken stock with the pepper flakes ?

  12. Jonathan_NYC Brooklyn NYC joined 7/10 & has 6 comments

    I love your recipe for Soondubu, I will try it this week, also! your video and explanation of how to prepare it is wonderful! I loved your video presentation!

  13. joyeous lee lee north hollywood joined 6/10 & has 9 comments

    i was wondering if i don’t like seafood added to the soup what can i replace it with
    thank u

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      You could use chicken or beef broth instead of anchovy stock and add chopped beef or pork or chicken. Using delicious broth is very important to make good soondubu jjigae. If you use water, it won’t be tasty.

  14. lillamy85 Sweden joined 7/10 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi!

    My tofu is falling apart..:/ I’m using the soft tofu and put it in at the end.
    What am I doing wrong? Can I use another tofu?


  15. Oumsker Washington, DC joined 6/10 & has 3 comments

    I’ve always wondered why this soup has to be served in that black heavy bowl. Does it make it tastier or something?

  16. LisaL USA joined 9/09 & has 19 comments

    I made this the other day. I omitted most of the meat except for the 2 eggs. And I used chicken broth instead. It still came out tasty! If I can get back to the Korean store soon, I’ll pick up the ingredients to make the broth :)

  17. andrea kim oahu, hawaii joined 6/10 & has 13 comments

    i am so excited i can make soondooboo chigae for my nampyeon. it is his favorite! here is oh i omitted the meat and put extra seafood. yum P:

  18. Hello Maangchi!
    I recently discovered your website and I’ve been busy trying your wonderful recipes.
    I am a huge fan of Korean food and have tried many dishes at various Korean restaurants and I have to say that my favorite is Soondubu Jjigae. I used to go to my favorite local Korean restaurant a few times a month just for the dish. I’d tried to recreate it at home so many times but never came out right until I found your recipe. You are so right!!! Your recipe is sooo much better than any of the restaurants I’ve been to.
    I loved it so much that I cooked Soondubu Jjigae 4 times last week!!!! I cooked it for my boyfriend last night and he loved it even though it was a bit spicy for him. He used to ask me to make Kimchi Chigae all the time but I think I converted him to a Soondubu Jjigae fan :)

  19. kcough129 joined 6/10 & has 1 comment

    I love your website! I am vegan and I’ve never tasted real soondubu, but I just followed your recipe and omitted all the animal products :) I substituted soy sauce for the fish sauce and then let people add more to taste at the table. Yummy! Thanks :)

  20. Thaory Montreal joined 9/09 & has 13 comments

    Hi maangchi I have a question for you~ Because Soondubu jjigae is my next challenge lol. Instead of the stock made of dried anchovie and kelp could i use homemake chicken stock or homemade porc stock? Because it’s kinda hard to find them…

    Thank you maangchi!

  21. reesejin corona joined 4/10 & has 5 comments

    Yum yum! I made this dish twice since I’ve discovered your website. So Tasty!

  22. redeast joined 4/10 & has 1 comment

    Dear Maangchi,

    Thank you so much for this recipe and all the treasures herein! I tried it (minus a few things)…didn’t follow it to a “t” but it still was the best soondubu chigae I’ve had!

    Since then, I have this compulsion to cook Korean every night.

  23. ronchu Israel joined 4/10 & has 1 comment

    I made this yesterday, except I dropped out the mushrooms completely (I know, big change).
    Thank you for a great recipe! Will definitely use it again :D

    Also this site is AWESOME!

  24. Tanisha Naperville, Illinois, USA joined 3/10 & has 2 comments

    Dearest Maangchi,

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR WONDERFUL RECIPE! I JUST FINISHED MY FIRST POT OF SOON DU BU! I followed your instructions exactly and it turned out DELICIOUS! This is also my first time ever tasting soon du bu. I love it and I can’t wait to make it for my family when they come to visit me! by the way, do you eat this with rice? If not, what side dish do you usually make? (if any).

  25. shean0402 California joined 2/10 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi! I just love your website! I made a full spread of korean dishes using your recipes for my son’s birthday and everyone raved about the food. My 6yrs old son love the Japchae and spinach side dish. But the talk of the party was this recipe was one of my favorite, although I made it on the spicy side but nobody complain. It was gone down to the last drop of the stew. I will post the pictures!
    Thanks for sharing your recipes!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      I’m so happy to hear that your party with Korean dishes that you made turned out great! Japchae and spinach side dish are not spicy, so they will be good and healthy food for children who can’t eat spicy food. Congratulation!

  26. tracyyeoh malaysia joined 3/10 & has 1 comment

    I would say thank you very much for this recipe! soondubu jigae had been my favourite soup. I traveled very far just to have a nice bowl of soondubu. Although there is a lot of korean food in M’sia, From a stall to a stall, only 1 of the shop is my favourite!

    What is best is that today i had just tried to cook your soondubu and it turn out just fabulous. Though is not the taste that i had in that particular restaurant, but I couldn’t help but to say your soondubu is up to par with a lot of restaurant and even better than a lot of expensive korean restaurant cuisine we have here.

    Tonight I am going to try the spicy rice cake; ddukbokkie. Hope it turn out just wonderful like the soondubu I had.
    And by the way, i put 3 and half tbs of chilli flakes really upset me! It was not spicy at all. T.T probably i will try 5 tbs the next round.

    Thank you very very very much again.

  27. azie boo malaysia joined 3/10 & has 4 comments

    maangchi…i cant get if i didint use kelp..its soodubu still taste good..or what can i use to subsitute kelp..

  28. shree Makassar, Indonesia joined 3/10 & has 2 comments

    Hi! We don’t have any korean restaurant in my city and i thought korean food is very complicated. Now i can make my mom happy with my Soondubu, thanx to ur recipe ^_^. I made some changes to suit the lackness of korean spices here, like i didn’t use any kelp and i used my homemade pepper flakes (i baked the peppers in the oven in very low heat). and when my family tasted soondubu for the first time, they said it’s unique and tasty.
    btw, can i add doenjang in the stock?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      “homemade pepper flakes (i baked the peppers in the oven in very low heat” Interesting! I think you like cooking! I’m so happy to hear that your family loved your soondubujjigae. Yes, you could use doenjang (korean fermented soy bean paste) in your soondubu jjigae if you want.

  29. I love your website! it has taught me so many good recipes! especially since I no longer live with my mother who usually cooks all this stuff for me! ;)

    I want to try this recipe tonight, but can you help me

    I don’t want to use anochvies or mixed seafood – can I use vegteables like zuchhnni instead? if so, when in the recipe do I put it in?

    Thank you!!

  30. shelryo melbourne joined 2/10 & has 1 comment

    can i use beef instead of seafood? cause im allergic to seafood..

  31. Kina Thailand joined 2/10 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,
    Soondubu Jjigae is my most favourite Korean dish(so far). After I tried it for the first time, I could not wait to get hungry again so I could have some more.
    I am so glad I found a receipe here. You make it look so easy and after wathcing the clip. I am dying for another pot of Soondubu Jjigae!!
    I cannot wait to try it out.

    Thx a lot!!

  32. Dwaeji Toronto joined 1/10 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi! You are my hero. I tried this for the first time and it turned out sooooooooooo good. It wasn’t perfect but I know better for the next time. I have always stayed away from Korean food because it is too complicated but you made it so easy. I will be the envy among my friends now…hehehe. I will post pictures for the next one. I was too busy eating this one!

  33. uihye Singapore joined 1/10 & has 1 comment

    can i use gochujang instead of hot pepper flakes? cause i only have gochujang. if yes, how much do i need to put?

  34. I just tried this yesterday and it was amazing! I like the kick of spicyiness (I think it was the green pepper). For the kelp, can we instead replace that with dried/chopped up seaweed? The one I bought, the texture was a bit rough.

  35. Pure_Hapa Redondo Beach, California joined 8/09 & has 20 comments

    I’ve made this several times now. With scallops, with beef, with kimchi. My favorite was with ground beef and kimchi. If you use kimchi – make sure to adjust the amount of KochuKaru! I have very potent KochuKaru and never need the 3-5 tablespoons – AiYaaaa!!!

    The most important part is the broth. If you have the tasty broth, you can add all kinds of ingredients to the soup. Also, If you don’t have fish sauce, don’t forget you need another source of salt – like soy sauce or sea salt.

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