Craving a warming and hearty soup for supper? Look no further than this Korean jjigae (or stew), known as Haemul Sundubu-jjigae. That may be a bit of a mouthful, but there are all kinds of jjigae enjoyed in Korea; this one has soft tofu (sundubu) and seafood (haemul) in a spicy, flavorful broth. I love how quickly this gets on the table, and I especially love how it’s a complete meal in a bowl. A jumble of succulent seafood, veggies, and silky tofu gets topped with a poached egg, all simmered in the spicy and savory broth. This is a seafood lover’s dream, so let’s get into it.
Is anyone else a fan of K-dramas (Korean Drama Shows for those of you who are new)? My sister and daughter are slightly addicted and often they will recommend something on Netflix. I’ve watched my fair share now, and one of the things that always draws my attention is the quantity of food consumed by the actors on screen. Seriously! Don’t believe me? Pick a show, any show. When you watch American TV, there are plenty of scenes showing people sitting at dining tables, in kitchens, or at restaurants. But how many of them are actually eating? Very very few. They’re mostly moving the food around the plate or casually nibbling a fry. But these K-dramas are not kidding around when they show people eating. And these people are basically eating all the time.
If you watch more carefully, you’ll notice that soups/stews are an integral part of the meal. Most Korean meals, even more so than Japanese and Chinese meals, feature a soup. Whenever I watch a K-drama, I’m always salivating watching the characters slurp away. Once you try this Haemul Sundubu-jjigae, you’ll never be able to watch K-drama in the same way. You’re welcome!
A hallmark of any jjigae is a flavorful broth. I like to use my anchovy stock that I shared recently. It’s so easy to make and has a wonderfully assertive seafood flavor that is perfect. You can also use a purchased stock to make this even faster, with a little dashi powder to mimic the briny flavor. I start making my Haemul Sundubu-jjigae by prepping and sautéing aromatics.
The preferred tofu to use for this jjigae is soft silken, which comes either in a box or in tubes. It has an almost custard like texture. A medium or firm tofu would change the dish completely.
The tofu will absorb all the rich and spicy flavors of the broth while it cooks. Now it’s time to add the seafood. I call for shrimp, mussels or clams, and squid, but feel free to use your favorites. I feel like a variety adds exciting textures and flavors, but if all you have on hand is shrimp that will be delicious too! I keep the shells on the shrimp because it adds so much more flavor and it keeps the shrimp tender. But I do take a moment to devein them.
To serve, scoop out an egg into each serving bowl and then carefully ladle the stew on top.
Fast cooking Haemul Sundubu-Jjigae is one of my favorite ways to enjoy seafood on a weeknight, and I hope it becomes one of yours as well. Try it this week and let me know what you think, and don’t forget to tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!
- 1 Tablespoon neutral oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ yellow onion, chopped
- 4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
- 2 green onions, white and green parts chopped separately
- 2 cups anchovy kelp stock (or your stock of choice)
- ½ teaspoon dashi powder (if you are not using anchovy stock)
- 3 Tablespoons gochugaru (Korean hot pepper flakes)
- 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 2 tubes soft tofu (or 20 ounces extra soft silken tofu)
- 4 large deveined shrimp in the shell
- 3 ounces squid, cut into rings
- 4 fresh mussels or clams, cleaned and rinsed*
- 2 eggs
- Heat a large saucepan (about 3-4 quarts) over medium high heat for several minutes. Add the neutral oil, onion, garlic, the white part of the green onion, and shiitake mushrooms.
- Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until the veggies are lightly brown and starting to soften.
- Add the stock and the dashi powder if using. Simmer for 5 minutes over medium heat.
- Add the fish sauce, hot pepper flakes, ground black pepper, sugar, and sesame oil. Stir to dissolve.
- Cut the tubes of tofu in half and squeeze the tofu into the pan (or if the tofu is in a container, open the container, drain the tofu, and then place the tofu in the pan) breaking up the tofu a bit with chopsticks or a ladle. Cook for several minutes so the tofu can heat up and absorb some of the flavor of the broth. Taste the broth and add a little salt, ground black pepper, or fish sauce as needed.
- Next add the shrimp, calamari, and clams and cook until the mussels/clams have just opened, 1-2 minutes.
- Carefully crack the eggs into the bubbling stew, and cook for another minute until the eggs are half cooked. Sprinkle the remaining green onion over the top and serve Haemul sundubu-jjigae right away.
- When serving, scoop up each egg and place one in each bowl. Ladle the stew into two soup bowls carefully so you do not break the eggs.
*If you have Korean earthenware pots or small dutch ovens (about 20-24 ounces in size), they make perfect individual servings. Ladle the stew into 2 vessels (before adding the seafood) and place them on the stove top. Heat them up over high heat. Once the stew starts bubbling, add the seafood to each bowl and cook for a couple of minutes until the clams/mussels open. Then add the eggs into each bowl. Cook for another minute. Remove the pots carefully from the heat, sprinkle with the chopped green onion, and serve.
*I know it’s very difficult to buy clams/mussels fresh when you only need a couple pieces. You can use frozen mussels (the greenlip are big and meaty) or clams, a couple of scallops, a couple ounces of fish, or just double up on the shrimp
Keywords: tofu, stew, korean, jjigae, sundubu-jjigae, shrimp, mussels, eggs, seafood