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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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How to Cook Soondubu Jjigae 순두부찌개


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  1. Just made this today for my family… None of us were thrilled with it, but I might have messed up somewhere along the line. Is it supposed to taste really fishy?

    1 year ago
  2. Can you make a video for Dolsot Bibimbap? I’d like to make it similar to the way you’d probably eat it if you live in Korea, and every single recipe I find either seems too American-ized or they’re all different.

    2 years ago
  3. I Love your cooking segment! I cant wait to get more of them!!

    2 years ago
  4. I was just wondering…How many does this recipe serve? I only really cook for me and my partner so I don’t want to make too much :D

    2 years ago
  5. This makes me want to go to South Korea even more! :o
    Made this today and it was sooo good <3 (even though I can't handle spicy food very well, so i became a little sweaty…)
    Definitely going on vacation to SK this summer!

    Thank you for sharing this Martina! :D
    Love from Norway <3

    2 years ago
  6. Just made this with your recipe and I must say thank you! It came out wonderful and delicious! (And spicy too since I jut threw in tons of hot peppers and pepper flakes xD) I’m going to make your lovely Pajeon next!

    2 years ago
  7. Thank you so much for the cooking episodes!!!

    2 years ago
  8. Thank you!!!! x 200!
    I keep trying to make korean food, which is… challenging, since I don’t cook regularly (ermagahd T_T”’….) and I’ve never had authentic korean food, so I never know if my food turns out like it’s supposed to LOL, so these videos help reassure me and teach me how to make these things!!!!!
    (on a side note, this recipe helps clarify for me why I spend so much money on food, HAHA)
    Btw, my puppy was even begging for tastes of this recipe! :D

    2 years ago
  9. Shared this on my google + page. I feel I was victorious for dinner. My step-son, who is half Korean and a very picky eater ate this! He says he hates egg, mushroom, onion and kimchi. Oddly enough the only thing he picked out were the clams. Silly guy! I ended up using green bell pepper instead of zuchini, I forgot which green thing I had to get at the store. And I put big clams in cause I couldn’t find the little guys you used. It made for a more expensive stew but still very very good. Thanks for sharing! Now I will retreat back to my lurking corner. :p

    2 years ago
  10. Dad: You smell like a kitteh! Martina: Shaddap Dad, I’m broke! Oh man, I almost splurted my coffee everywhere. Love love this cooking segment, it’s so inspiring!

    2 years ago
  11. Hi Martina ^_^ How many servings is this recipe for?

    2 years ago
  12. Grr, I went to my ginormous local Asian market and found two cases of soft tofu. So I bought them. But they had no tubes! So my wondering is how many grams/ ounces are in one tube of soft tofu? thanks a lot, I really love this segment! :)

    2 years ago
  13. My mama puts clams in the broth with those ingredients Martina puts in, and sometimes little tiny crabs too! I really recommend putting clams and crabs in along with shrimp (which Martina suggested) when you boil the broth to all the nasties who love seafood;)

    2 years ago
  14. If you are lazy and/or Anchovy averse, Japanese Dashi can be an excellent substitute for the Anchovy & Dashima soak liquid. Just make 4 cups of strong Dashi, from the powder or the Bonito flakes and Konbu (a.k.a. Dashima).

    Voila! No gutting Anchovies!

    2 years ago
    • Actually, I have another substitute that works out really well. 2 rashers of Uncured Bacon works really well if you can’t get Pork Belly.

      2 years ago
  15. These are soo awesome! I just wish I would make time to go out and buy the ingredients! I’m so lazy!!!

    2 years ago
  16. Martina just keeps getting more and more beautiful each video!

    2 years ago
  17. Martina, is it ok just to use a normal pot because I don’t have that pot u used

    2 years ago
  18. I love the cooking segments! Have you ever thought about doing a cooking segment on the regular?!

    2 years ago
  19. Question specifically for Martina- Does this make one serving or two? Thank you and sorry for being a bother! :)

    2 years ago
  20. Your cooking videos remind me of “Who’s in the Kitchen?” an old PC game I used to play. It was really funny and had a zany way of having you cook with the ingredients making their own commentary. I loved that game and I love your cooking videos. I hope to someday follow one of them. ^.^

    2 years ago
  21. Have the hats arrived?

    2 years ago
  22. Omg I’m loving your cooking videos Martina, it’s both educational and hilarious.
    If only I could cook I would totally try to cook this but since I suck at it I can only watch and
    drool over the food

    2 years ago
  23. Cyrie the apron is super lovely the way it is. I think it’s meant to fit on top of a big puffy dress as per 50s tradition, so I still love it. Also, I know those were hand covers for moving hot pots but I thought it made a cute hot pot stand at the end of the video. ^^

    2 years ago
  24. It’s definitely cheaper, if it’s 1-2 people, to eat out. We spent 40,000 won on all of the ingredients. Yes, they’ll last us for a long time, and we can make lots of Soondubu jjigae in the future, but I don’t want THAT much of it, you know?

    2 years ago
  25. I can help with the vegan questions even though I am not vegan. I worked in the kitchen of a natural foods deli and I know a lot of the tricks and substitutions.

    2 years ago
  26. THANK YOU i have the worst time making this :)

    2 years ago
  27. I love Soondubu! It is my favorite food here in Korea. The Kimchi Soondubu is my favorite. Plus, I think the Restaurant I go to is the one you reviewed in a really old video, in Bucheon :) Bonus!

    2 years ago
    • Hmm, maybe? I never really noticed what was around it. I am always just more focused on the food ;) I think there is a love motel right next door though. Maybe it is not the same one? I don’t know :)

      2 years ago
  28. YAY!!! You did Soondubu Jjigae!!! It’s my favourite too! =^ㅅ^= These videos are just brilliant, by the way, and now I’m off to the closest Asian supermarket! Gonna see if they have ceramic pots too!

    2 years ago
  29. That was a great video Martina. I think that the music was used perfectly – it gave a great vibe and you toned it down at the right times so that I was able to focus on your instructions. I totally loved your “shopping face” – LOL! I look forward to the next cooking FAPFAP.

    You make it look easy but I don’t know if I would like soondubu jjigae or not – I do like spicy tofu dishes and seafood chowdah though, does it taste very fishy? For people who don’t have a lot of experience with (authentic) Korean food it would be useful to give us something to compare it to, or a “if you like x, y, or z, then you’ll probably like this dish”. For beginners, don’t forget to mention to not eat any unopened clams!

    2 years ago
    • Great suggestion. We’ll keep that in mind for future videos :D

      Yes, it does taste very fishy, if you use the fishy version. If you do the tofu and cheese substitute then it’s a lot less fishy :D

      I’m not sure what we’d compare it to, though. It doesn’t really taste like chowder. It tastes like…soondubu jjigae. It’s got its own taste.

      2 years ago
  30. Did I hear “fire poops”? Haha! Is it okay to use, erm….slightly…somewhat expired gochugaru? The kimchi I made with it tastes ok, but if there were any weird smell/taste, it could have been overpowered by the rest of the ingredients.

    2 years ago
  31. Woohoo! Now I just gotta bring Einstein back to life to give me a photographic memory, and then I can memorize this all so that when I go to KoreaTown in my little fantasies, I can make this! Yay!

    2 years ago
  32. How many people does this recipe serve??? I don’t wanna make it and not have enough.. D:

    2 years ago
    • It serves 2 big eaters or 1 very hungry person. OR 3 people if you serve it with rice (which they do in Korea) so that it can fill you up more!

      2 years ago
  33. Loved the video guys!. You have a great recipe style. Quick and Witty! Who would have known you could teach us how to make a wonderful soup in under 4 minutes! (Although soft tofu soup is actually pretty easy to make).

    2 years ago
  34. Cheaper??? The Korean restaurants in my area are expensive. A good soft tofu soup usually runs me $9-11.

    2 years ago
  35. I’ve made the soondubu jjigae before. Instead of making my own anchovy stock, I usually add fish sauce that the Vietnamese use in their cooking (easy to find in Asian food stores). I’m too lazy to make an authentic stock and I’m trying to make the dish in about 30 minutes total.

    My whole family loves the dish. Not authentic, but still really good

    2 years ago
  36. this was serendipity! my boyfriend and i just got our chigae bowls that we ordered from korea (2 months ago!), and were saying we needed to find a good recipe to make our very first soondubu chigaes!!! this amazing video could not have come at a better time! yay! <3

    2 years ago
  37. oh, dried kelp. I kept hearing her say dried “cicadas.”

    2 years ago
  38. I’m pretty sure my favorite part of these is actually the shot of pushing the shopping cart, I dunno why but i just have to take a second to die laughing everytime i see that.

    2 years ago
  39. Guise who was that girl that slapped Martina’s bum?

    2 years ago
  40. Another question because I’m a noob-
    does it have to be cooked in a ceramic pot or could you cook it in a chili pot? Sorry if I’m bothering anyone….

    2 years ago