Korean Soft Tofu Stew – Soondubu Jjigae (순두부찌개)

Over the last few weeks, I have been eating way more beef than I’ve had in a long time. Mostly because I bought a bag of frozen beef to help cut down the time it takes for me to meal prep. Now, you’re wondering if you read the title of this post right. You did. The only reason I’m bringing up the topic of beef is because the recipe of the mouth (provided by Ariel of course) is Korean Soft Tofu Stew. My mind automatically fills in Korean Beef BBQ… sorry its the foodie in me. If you decide to try this recipe, let me know in the comments. I’d love to know what you think.

Korean Soft Tofu Stew by ArielCooks

This is one of my husband’s favorite dishes. Years ago, I remember colleagues of mine waiting on an incredibly long line to get this Korean tofu soup for lunch during freezing NYC winters. Now I make it year-round, even in the middle of the scorching Texas summer – go figure. Traditionally, this soup is made with meat or seafood, but I find the vegan version easy and just as tasty. Gochujang and kimichi have made it to many major markets, and you can find the rest of the specialty ingredients at your local Asian supermarket.

Adapted from J. Kenji López-Alt’s Soondubu Jjigae (Korean Soft Tofu Stew) on Serious Eats. Serves 4.

  • 1 four-inch-square piece kombu (sea kelp)
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste
  • 2 cups very fermented kimchi with juice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 6 scallions, finely sliced, greens and whites reserved separately
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons gochugaru, to taste (Korean dried chili flakes)
  • 8-12 ounces mushrooms (shiitake, cremini, button, whatever)
  • 24 ounces soft silken tofu, roughly broken

Put kombu and miso in a medium sauce pan and cover with 1 quart water. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Whisk miso to break down any clumps. Let stand 5 minutes, then strain. Discard solids and reserve broth. Meanwhile, drain kimchi in a fine mesh strainer set over a small bowl, squeezing to remove as much liquid as possible 

Roughly chop kimchi and reserve kimchi and juice separately.

Cut the mushrooms into pieces – for shiitakes I like strips, creminis or others you may want to quarter (or smaller, depending on how large they are).

Heat oil in a 2 to 3 quart stone dolsot or dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add scallion whites, garlic, and chopped kimchi. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add kimchi juice, gochujang, and soy sauce. Cook until vegetables are well-coated in even layer of sauce. Add mushrooms and stir to coat. Add strained broth, gochugaru, and soft tofu. Stir gently and heat until boiling. Season to taste with more gochugaru or soy sauce if desired. Remove from heat and sprinkle with scallion greens. Serve immediately while still boiling, alone, or with rice on the side.

Note from the Author:

Meals should be delicious.

They shouldn’t be complicated or expensive. Most importantly they should be practical. Creating and sharing a meal with loved ones is something I value greatly, but not at the expense of the time we share together.

While I do typically try to cook with a lot of vegetables, food should be satisfying and occasionally indulgent. At the end of the day, small or large, whatever you feel you can do consistently is the most important aspect of any positive change. I hope you’ll join me. I’m Ariel – let’s cook together.

*Follow her on Instagram at, ArielThinks or check out all her recipes here.*

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