Vegan Sundubu Jjigae (Soft Tofu Stew)

A vegan version of the ubiquitous Korean soft tofu stew. It’s spicy, rich, and flavorful — one of my favorite dishes to eat on a cold winter day.

Traditionally, the stew is made with meat and/or seafood, in addition to an anchovy broth. For this vegan version, we are using shiitake mushrooms and kombu to make an equally flavorful, umami-packed broth.


Paired with well-fermented vegan kimchi and that ultra-soft Korean silken tofu, sundubu jjigae is seriously one of the heartiest Korean stews there is.

Besides white rice, I also like to have sundubu jjigae alongside a savory Korean pancake like Kimchijeon (kimchi pancake). You really can’t go wrong with too much kimchi, am I right?!


Vegan Sundubu Jjigae (Soft Tofu Stew)

4 from 11 votes
Recipe by George L. Course: DinnerCuisine: KoreanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

2

servings
Prep time

25

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes

A vegan version of the ubiquitous Korean soft tofu stew. It’s spicy, rich, and flavorful — one of my favorite dishes to eat on a cold winter day.

Ingredients

  • Base Broth
  • 650 grams water

  • 15 grams kombu (dried kelp)

  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms

  • 1 teaspoon mushroom bouillon

  • 1 teaspoon MSG (optional)

  • Soft Tofu Stew
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

  • 2 tablespoons gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/4 yellow onion, roughly chopped

  • 1 scallion, finely chopped

  • 1/2 cup vegan kimchi (homemade recipe HERE)

  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce

  • 400 grams base broth (or more, adjust to preference)

  • 1 tube (350 g) extra-soft silken tofu

Directions

  • Prepare Base Broth. In a medium-sized pot, add kombu (dried kelp), dried shiitake mushrooms, and room temperature water. Bring the water to a boil, lower to a simmer, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Once 15 minutes is up, remove mushrooms & kombu and add mushroom bouillon & MSG (optional). Note: MSG and mushroom bouillon both bring umami flavor, but in slightly different ways. Mushroom bouillon deepens mushroom flavor; MSG increases umami flavor. Whisk until thoroughly combined and taste to adjust seasoning. Set aside.
  • Make Soft Tofu Stew. Start by heating a small pot or dolsot ttukbaegi (stone pot) with vegetable oil and toasted sesame oil over medium-high heat. Note: if using a stone pot, it will take slightly longer to heat up. Once the pot is hot, add gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) and toast them until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic, yellow onion, scallions, and stir fry until onions become slightly softened & translucent. Add vegan kimchi and fry together for about 1 minute. Follow that with light soy sauce, base broth, and lastly the extra-soft silken tofu. Use a spatula to break up tofu into into chunks. Bring the stew to a boil and cook everything together for 5 more minutes. Note: the amount of base broth you add determines the consistency of the stew. If you prefer to have a thicker consistency, add less base broth. The rice flour slurry in the kimchi brine also helps thicken the stew. If still not thick enough at the end of cooking, I recommend adding a slurry that contains 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water.
  • To Finish. Once the stew is done, add back your shiitake mushrooms (you should slice them first if they aren’t already). Taste to adjust seasoning. Top with fresh scallions and serve warm with white rice.

Notes

  • Vegetarian Option. Soondubu Jjigae is usually enjoyed with egg. If using eggs, crack one directly into the pot when there is one minute remaining of cooking time.

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to see your recreations!

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