Korean Tofu Soup – Soondubu Jjigae

Need some spice in your life?  Well… Soondubu Jjigae will give you just that, along with the feeling of wanting to cuddle up in a soft blanket and plopping onto the couch.  Having tofu soup (it’s actually a stew, but a lot easier to say “tofu soup!”), always gives me that “home-y” feeling even when I’m eating it at a restaurant.  I’m always looking around the restaurant in hopes that there’s a couch hidden in the corner somewhere, a couch I can jump onto and enjoy my bowl of tofu stew. Perhaps it makes a person feel this way because it’s a type of stew and stews often have that affect on people…

The spicyness and the hot flavorful tofu accompanied with a scoop of rice leaves you full, content, and in a state of laziness.  Totally perfect for a cold, foggy, or rainy day.

There are many types of soondubu jjigaes with different types of meats and vegetables.  My friends and I have tried making it with zucchini and squash, which was a horrible fail by the way.  Not because of the zucchini or squash, but because of the simple fact that none of us knew how to actually make this super yummy bowl of goodness.  In the end, we only knew how to make a large pot of grossness, but I reassure you that it came out quite well this time.

Since there are so many different types of tofu soups, I had a little trouble finding the perfect recipe online.  I must’ve looked at over ten different recipes, but finally decided on this one.  My friend has made a few of Aeri’s recipes and every single thing has always turned out delicious!  I decided to make my tofu soup with the same ingredients, such as beef and enoki mushrooms, as I already had those things on hand.  The only thing I didn’t have was kelp for the soup stock.  I’ve never bought kelp from my local Asian supermarket and was a little intimidated.  Does it come dry in a package or fresh in a box?  I also didn’t want to go swimming in the ocean to fish for kelp either (JUST KIDDING).  I decided to use water with hon-dashi as an alternative.  The soup still came out delicious.  Thanks Aeri!

The soup came out pretty spicy so if you prefer a less spicy soup, I say use 1.5 or even 1 Tablespoon of the hot pepper powder.


Beef Marinade:

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. light soy sauce

1 Tbsp. mirin


Soup stock:

2.5 C. water

1 tsp. hon-dashi


Ingredients for Stew:

1 clove garlic, mined

1 Tbsp. oil

2 Tbsp. Red Pepper Powder

Half a small onion, sliced

About a cup of beef

1 C. kimchi, cut into bite size pieces

1 Tbsp. soy sauce

Salt, if needed

1 egg



Use any cut of beef and slice into thin strips then dice into small pieces.  Add the ingredients of the marinade and set aside for about 20 minutes.


As you’re waiting for the beef to become tasty, boil the water and add the hon-dashi to the water.  Turn the heat off.

You can now take the time to slice your onions and garlic.

To a heated heavy skillet or wok, add the oil, garlic, and red pepper powder.


Cook for a few seconds then add the beef.  When the surface of the beef starts to turn brown, add the onions, and kimchi.  Stir-fry for a few minutes.

Add the broth and soy sauce.  Look at that beautiful red!  When the soup starts to boil, turn down the heat.  This is the perfect time to taste the broth.  Add salt if needed.  Add the enoki mushrooms and tofu by the spoonfuls and turn the heat back up to medium high.


Let boil for about 5 minutes then crack an egg on top (I cracked two since WL loves eggs with his Korean food).  The egg thickens the broth so make sure you don’t add too many of them!  I say two would be the max.


Finish your spicy meal with a plateful of yummy fruits to cool down the heat.

Cheesy Mac n Cheese next!


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