Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Vegetarian Soon Tofu Jjigae (야채 순두부찌개)

Soon tofu jjigae was among my first posts back in 2011. I think it's time for an update, don't you? Soon tofu is probably one of the most popular Korean dishes. If you told me that you were sort of new to Korean food but you've tried a few things, I would guess first that you've tried kalbi and/or Korean barbecue but the second thing I would guess is soon tofu.

If you've never had soon tofu jjigae, shame on you! No, I'm kidding, but go try it because it's delicious. Soon tofu is silken tofu (it's just the Korean term) and it's mixed into a spicy and delicious soup. My favorite part of ordering soon tofu jjigae in restaurants is that they bring it to the table while it's still boiling hot and then you crack an egg into it right away. It's awesome.

Today I'm sharing a vegetarian version. You can certainly add some meat or seafood if you like, but the soup is so flavorful on its own, it's really not necessary.
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
¼ cup chopped kimchi
4 to 5 cloves garlic
hot peppers (optional)
2 cups water or vegetable stock
2 teaspoons hot pepper paste (gochujang)
2 teaspoons bean paste (dwenjang)
8 oz. silken tofu
enoki mushrooms
2 scallions, chopped
1 egg
*Without the egg this dish is totally vegan too! Just make sure to check the ingredients - vegans and vegetarians alike - in the kimchi and bean paste as sometimes they can contain fish products.

Peel the garlic and prep the hot peppers. I didn't want the soup to be overwhelmingly spicy so I just cut one of the peppers in half and left the rest in tact. If you didn't recognize the peppers, they're Thai chili peppers and they are crazy spicy. Indian restaurants often have them as well and some can be relatively tolerable but once in a while, you get a crazy hot bugger that leaves your tongue out-of-work for a few hours.
Chop up the scallions and set aside.
Heat up a stone pot (or a small soup pot or saucepan) and add in the oil and hot pepper flakes. Stir the oil and pepper flakes around until the oil is red but be careful not to burn it. Add in the kimchi, garlic, and hot peppers. Let the kimchi cook for about a minute.
Pour in the water (or vegetable stock). Stir in the hot pepper paste and bean paste and then bring the soup to a boil.
I used a tube package of silken tofu. To open the package, you just cut along the dotted line. Silken tofu also comes in square containers, in which case, you just peel back the plastic lid and scoop it out.
When the kimchi has cooked a bit and gone soft, add in the tofu. Gently break up the larger pieces with a spoon. Boil for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the flavors of the soup to penetrate the tofu. When you're ready to serve, add in the enoki mushrooms and garnish with the scallions.
Bring it to the table while it's still boiling so you can crack in an egg! My favorite part! By the way, if you don't have a stone pot and you're using a normal saucepan, it's likely that the soup will stop boiling as soon as you remove it from the stove. In this case, I recommend adding the egg while the soup is still on the stove and letting it cook a bit before bringing it to the table.
Mix in the egg - I like to pop the yolk and then swirl twice around the pot - so that it'll cook a bit in the still-boiling pot. Then you can eat. YUM!
Here's the recipe page:

4 comments:

  1. Hi Rachel! It's Wendy's friend, Kaycee, again =) Thanks for posting this recipe! I LOVVVEEEEE Soondooboo. I just made it right now and it was pretty yummy, even though I had no garlic, substituted miso for the soybean paste & used button mushrooms in place of the enoki mushrooms. =D I think I'll just call my version... "swoondooboo". Haha.

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    1. Hi Kaycee! Yay! I'm so glad you made it and I'm doubly glad that you liked it. I like to say that you don't have to follow these sorts of recipes exactly and it's always great to use what you've got. Thanks for reading! :):)

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  2. Hey Rachel -
    Ann Thomas and I made this for dinner tonight after seeing you post about it on facebook. It was delicious and a great use for our recent batch of kimchi! Hope you're well!

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    1. Hey Bobby! Haha, it's so weird/cool that you even looked at my blog! I'm still getting used to people being on here and it's so fun and awesome when it's people I know. I'm glad you enjoyed it!! :):)

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