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How to Cook Soondubu Jjigae 순두부찌개

August 23, 2013


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Hey everyone!

I was so happy to see that you guise liked my last Korean cooking video on how to cook Jjajangmyeon. I was really worried about putting it up because I really love cooking but I know I’m not a trained chef. I just seriously love tinkering with recipes and, let’s be honest, I love eating. ^_^ So, I’m making another cooking video today on one of my favourite Korean foods, Soft Tofu Stew 순두부찌개 (soondubu jjigae).

Korean cooking is interesting in the way that it’s very taste oriented and habitual. What I mean is, most Korean people I talk to don’t have a recipe as so much a technique that they use that involves a lot of eyeballing of measurements, like “I don’t know: you just add this much until it tastes good”. So for me, once I taste a Korean dish enough, I decide on my favourite version of that dish. And there are so many flavour variations on the same dish that just the kimchi you use in this recipe will completely change the flavour of the stew depending on how long it was fermented. The goal for me is to replicate the dish that I love as authentically as possible, and in this case, I’m trying to replicate my favourite 순두부찌개 restaurant

Now before you read the recipe let me explain this post’s layout. I divided the ingredients and instructions according to how to make anchovy broth and how to make the stew recipe because some of you may not be able to get all the ingredients or you may wish to make the stew with a different type of broth. In turn, I divided the videos into two parts as well:

1) How to cook soondubu jjigae, which is the main video, and
2) How to make anchovy broth, which is the secondary video. But I’ll be referring to this video in the future if I ever make another stew, because this is the foundation for many Korean stews. Check out the video here:

If you can’t make the Korean style anchovy stock, replace it with 2 cups of stock of your choice, but – of course – know that your final product might not taste the same.

For vegetarians/vegans who may not want to cook with the dried fish stock, you can easily replace the fish with extra dried mushrooms, but it will be a more earthy tasting stew. Also, for halal/vegetarian/vegan peeps: The pork is something you can leave out. A lot of stews in Korea have fatty pieces of pork that people don’t really eat, it’s simply added for flavour. You can also leave out the clams and egg at the end!

If you don’t have a ceramic bowl, don’t fret: you can make this in a normal pot as well. And one last thing, this is usually served with steamed rice. Forward ho~


FOR THE STOCK (You need 1 big pot + 1 soaking bowl)

10-12 anchovies
2 pieces dried kelp (dashima)
4 cups water

3 cups water
1 white onion
4 cloves garlic
2-3 dried shitake mushrooms(whole) or 3/4 cup chopped dried


2 cups of anchovy stock
1 strip (approx 1/4 cup) of chopped samgyapseol (or any piece of pork that has some fat on it)
1 TBSP Olive Oil
1/4 white onion diced
1-2 TSP red pepper flakes (you can adjust it to make it less/more spicy)
1/4 zucchini (cut in half, and diced into thin moons)
100 g (approx 3/4 cup) of chopped aged kimchi (if you don’t have kimchi, use 1-2 TBSP gochujang, it’s not the same but it will add that flavour you need from the kimchi)
1/2 TSP soy sauce (add more to taste at the end)
1 bunch of enoki mushrooms (a bunch the width of a plum, sorry guise, best description I got)
1 tube soft tofu 순두부
16 short neck clams 바지락 (approx 8 per individual serving)
1 green onion stem diced

OPTIONAL: 1 spicy green pepper diced (you can leave it out if you hate spice)

Cooking Instructions


1. First, GUT THOSE ANCHOVIES like a hungry Velociraptor from Jurassic Park! Otherwise, the intestines will make your broth taste a little bitter. Dump them into a bowl with 4 cups of water + your dried sea tangle and soak for 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, add 3 cups of water to a pot on the stove and dump in a whole onion, whole garlic, and whole mushrooms. Once brought to a boil, turn the heat down to a light boil and keep covered for the first 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium high and remove cover for 5 more minutes so it can reduce.

3. After the 20 minutes of stove top boiling is up, dump in the bowl of soaking anchovies + sea tangle, water and all. The water is now flavoured so DON’T THROW IT OUT! Bring it all back to a light boil and let it go for 10 more minutes without a lid.

4. Skim off any nasty foam and toss. Don’t boil for over 10 minutes or it will start to taste bitter and nasty. OHH YOU SO NASTY DASHI…MA! After 10 minutes you can taste it. It should be a light fishy flavour. Drain the broth and set aside for upcoming use!

Ps: some people keep the mushrooms. They chop them up and put them into the stew, but I personally find them overpowering.


1. Add the fatty chopped pork to a medium-high pre-heated pot. Cook for 1 minute or until lightly browned. Depending on if you need more oil, add 1 TBSP of oil and add the diced white onions + zucchini. Once softened add the kimchi + red pepper flakes and stir constantly until you can smell them in the air.

**note** We made the mistake of chopping the fatty pork up into small pieces. Make them big pieces instead, so you can easily pick them out of your stew. Our pieces were too small to fish out afterwards. Oops!

2. Add 2 cups of the stock to your hot pot. Carefully add the soft tofu and bring back to a boil. Now is a great time to taste the broth. Is it too watery? Let it boil a little longer to reduce the water. Not salty? Add a little more soy sauce. Not spicy enough? You’ll need that hot pepper for the end!

3. Once you’re happy, add the mushrooms and stir gently so the tofu doesn’t stick to the bottom. Bring back to a full boil. Boil for 3-5 minutes. The goal is to further reduce the broth since the tofu and mushrooms add more water. Korean cooking is very much a taste as you go kind of cooking, so taste it. Maybe you like it the way it is and don’t need to further boil it!

(If the broth looks too watery, let the soup boil down for 2-3 more minutes. Watery looking means the broth looks like it has a layer of clear broth, you want it to be more chunky since it is a stew not a soup, so simmer it down so there is a more tofu/veggie thickness present.)

5. Add the clams. They should open after 2-3 minutes.

6. Toss in the diced green onion + optional hot pepper. Turn off the heat, add a little drizzle of sesame oil, and crack an egg into it. TA-da! Don’t worry, the egg will cook, and you can either mix it in like scrambled eggs or let it poach whole.


Ready for me to blow your mind? Add a 1/4 cup of diced spam instead of clams. Toss in a slice of processed cheddar cheese and mix it up before adding your egg. BOOM! It is UNBELIEVABLY GOOD and yes, this concept is from one of my favourite chains in Korea, but I had to guess their secret recipe.


Same steps as before, but toss in a 2-3 fresh shrimp – no need to peel and de-vein. In Korea we do that at the table – 4 mussels, 2-3 of those mini octopus. Booya!

For an even deeper flavoured broth, I would also add some dried shrimp, maybe a tablespoon’s worth, to the soaking bowl with the anchovy. Also, if you have any left over broth that you won’t use right away, I recommend pouring it into ice cubes trays and freezing them. I do the same thing with pre-chopped garlic and fresh herbs that I can’t use up! Water + herbs = ice cube herb that isn’t frost bitten and is ready to be used! :D

If you have any other tips, tricks, or suggestions, please let me know! And send me pics if you cook it! I loved seeing all the tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter pics for the last recipe!

Also, if you like these videos, make sure you subscribe for more! We can teach you how to cook lots of stuff. These cooking videos are fun for us to make :D



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