Soondubu Jigae (Korean; Spicy Soft Tofu Stew)


Soondubu Jigae (Spicy 'Extra' Soft Tofu Stew)

Being of Korean heritage on my mother's side, she's often told me that most Koreans she knew made this stew in a much more simpler way with just the seasonings, tofu and veggies. I personally prefer variations of this recipe as it's more filling and very flavorful without being over powered by the spiciness. This is based on the traditional Korean Soft Tofu Stew from the Youtube cook, Maangchi, and made my own adjustments to the recipe. I encourage others to make their own adjustments to the recipe as they feel is needed or preferred. Make it as spicy and rich as little or alot to your liking!
Course Soup
Cuisine Asian


  • Soup pot



  • 12 dried anchovy cleaned: remove head and guts
  • 1 cup dried kelp rinsed
  • 1 half medium onion sweet vidalia
  • 5 cloves garlic crushed
  • 5-8 cup water
  • 5-6 shiitake mushroom presoaked, if dried
  • 5 tbsp Kikkoman's Memmi Noodle Soup Base to taste


  • 3 tsp hot sesame oil Kadoya brand is recommended
  • 5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tsbp Aji-Mirin sweet cooking rice wine
  • 1/4 cup red pepper flakes to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil optional
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar optional


  • 1 lb beef stew cut
  • ½ cup scallop medium
  • ½ cup shrimp peeled, no tail, deveined
  • 1 cup premixed seafood
  • 1-5 tbsp red pepper flakes adjust amount to taste
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2-4 11oz pk tofu extra soft
  • ½ cup baby portabella mushroom optional
  • ½ cup water chestnut optional
  • ½ cup baby bamboo shoot sliced, optional
  • 5-8 mussels optional

Toppings (optional)

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 egg
  • 2-3 green onion chopped
  • 1-2 jalapeno pepper sliced



  • Take the beef and dice it into bite size pieces (or get it precut that way), taking out excess fat. Add the marinate ingredients and toss thoroughly to coat by hand. Seal in a plastic zip lock or bowl with saran wrap and leave it in the fridge overnight. If you haven't the time, you can let it sit out at room temperature for about an hour. During that time you can prepare the stock.

Preparing the Broth

  • If the shiitake mushrooms are dried, place them in a bowl of warm water and let them soak for at least 15 minutes or while preparing the stock ingredients.
    Have a mesh/strainer container to place the dried anchovies in, be sure to remove the intestines. Since you're using a mesh container, you can leave the heads in. Hon-dashi powder can replace the dried anchovies, if necessary or preferred.
    Rinse the dried kelp before adding to pot.
    Add water and all stock ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, bring down to medium heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
    Use a kitchen sieve to remove the foam/particles from the surface as it simmers.
    Add soup base to taste, 15 minutes into the simmer time.
    Remove kelp, anchovies, onion, mushroom and garlic cloves with kitchen sieve. Be sure to remove the stem and chop the mushrooms. Set stock aside once done.
    *Read notes for extra tips.

Main Preperations

  • In another pot, add sesame oil and bring to medium-high heat.
    Add marinated beef and cook till lightly browned. Add red hot soy bean paste or red pepper powder, chopped shiitake mushrooms and then stir thoroughly.
    Add the stock and fish sauce, then bring to a boil.
    Once boiling, add all seafood ingredients (and any optional ingredients), gently stir and simmer for about 5-10 minutes or more depending on if seafood is raw and/or frozen.
    Add the soft tofu, gently breaking it into medium/large chunks. Don't break it up too much as it's really easy to disperse. Continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.
    About a minute before serving, crack the eggs into the stew and top with green onions, jalapeno peppers, and sesame oil. Or you can separate the yolk and add that to the soup for toppings


This recipe is a tad brothy as I like lots of broth, but you can take 2 cups of the stock instead of all of it or just add more seafood/meats. If you can't find premixed seafood, it can be omitted or you can just replace it with whatever specific seafood you'd like. You can also use less red pepper powder/paste if you're not wanting it spicy. 4 tbsp to me is about a perfect medium spicy, but I'm used to more heat ;) If you like your eggs more done than runny, then you can add it a little sooner to allow it to cook more. Just know that it cooks fairly fast in the simmering stew. You can replace mussels with clams or just add clams, as well.
*If you really like those stock ingredients you can actually add them to the stew later near the end since they are already cooked. Just chopped them up some before adding. Otherwise, they can be added to other foods or be eaten as side dish. I prefer not to waste edible ingredients and they are actually quite tasty! Add rice or have rice as a side dish for a more filling meal.
Keyword Spicy