A labor of love that is well worth the effort
When I asked people for dishes that featured tofu in their home country, I received a great recipe for sundubu jjigae, or Korean tofu stew. This spicy and easy-to-make recipe comes from Vanessa in Seoul, South Korea.
Vanessa was born in Indonesia but now lives in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. She says that sundubu jjigae translates from Korean into English as “soft tofu stew.” As the name might suggest, this dish is a special stew made with tofu that is so soft that it looks like custard. Of course, silken tofu will work just fine too.
Traditionally, the tofu is added into an anchovy stock with red peppers, egg, zucchini, and more. But, says Vanessa, you can add any toppings you want. Popular toppings in Korea include mushrooms, other vegetables, and also seafood like shrimp. Usually, this dish is served piping hot in a traditional Korean stone bowl with rice. Vanessa mentions that this dish is designed to be very spicy, but if you don’t want to get burned, you can use less red pepper.
Vanessa loves sundubu jjigae because it’s very filling and delicious. The ingredients are very simple to find anywhere, so this dish is popular with Koreans living all over the world. This dish may look like it takes a long time to cook, but it’s actually very simple and is often eaten by Koreans at any time of day. According to Vanessa, this dish is so popular that even many foreigners in Korea enjoy it every day.
This tofu stew definitely sounds like something I want to try. The first thing I noticed when making this stew was how delicious it smelled. I may have gone a bit heavy on the red chili pepper, but you can adjust the spice level in this recipe to fit your tolerance. I think that this dish is giving me a newfound appreciation for silken tofu. The silken tofu is the perfect vessel to soak up all of the flavor of the broth, something it does much better than meat would. The raw egg that I added into the boiling broth cooks so nicely and is a joy to bite into. Every ingredient, from the zucchini to the seafood stock, comes through nicely. I opted to use seafood stock instead of anchovy stock because it was easier to find. When I made this dish, it was raining outside, and my big bowl of sundubu jjigae was the perfect way to warm up on a rainy day.
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