Soondubu Jjigae

Soondubu Jjigae, or Soft Tofu Stew, is a classic Korean dish known for its rich, spicy, and hearty flavors. This stew is made with uncurdled tofu, vegetables, sometimes meat (often pork or beef), and seafood, all simmered in a flavorful broth. It’s typically served in a hot stone pot and often accompanied by a raw egg that gets mixed into the bubbling stew at the table.


Here’s a high-level overview of the ingredients commonly used in Soondubu Jjigae:

  • Soft Tofu (Soondubu): The star ingredient, giving the stew its creamy texture.
  • Broth: Often made from anchovy or beef stock.
  • Protein: Can include pork, beef, seafood (like clams or shrimp), or a combination.
  • Vegetables: Typically includes mushrooms, zucchini, onions, and sometimes kimchi.
  • Gochugaru (Korean Red Chili Flakes): Adds spice and depth to the stew.
  • Gochujang (Korean Red Chili Paste): Enhances the stew’s spicy and slightly sweet flavor.
  • Garlic: For aromatic depth.
  • Soy Sauce: For seasoning.
  • Sesame Oil: Adds a nutty flavor.
  • Egg: Often cracked into the stew just before serving.

Basic Recipe

Soondubu Jjigae
Soondubu Jjigae

Here’s a simplified version of the Soondubu Jjigae recipe:


  • 1 package of soft tofu (soondubu)
  • 4 oz pork belly or beef (thinly sliced)
  • 1 cup seafood mix (clams, shrimp, etc.)
  • 2 cups anchovy or beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon gochugaru
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 small zucchini (sliced)
  • 1/2 onion (sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 green onions (chopped)


  1. Prepare the Broth: In a pot, bring the anchovy or beef broth to a boil.
  2. Cook the Protein: In a stone pot or saucepan, heat sesame oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sliced pork or beef, and cook until browned.
  3. Add Vegetables and Tofu: Add the onions, zucchini, and soft tofu. Break the tofu into large chunks.
  4. Season the Stew: Stir in gochugaru, gochujang, and soy sauce. Pour in the hot broth.
  5. Simmer: Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Add Seafood: Add the seafood mix and simmer until cooked through.
  7. Finish with an Egg: Just before serving, crack an egg into the stew and garnish with chopped green onions. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

Nutritional Information

The nutritional values can vary, but a typical serving of Soondubu Jjigae (about 1 cup) generally contains:

  • Calories: 250-300 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 10-15 grams
  • Protein: 15-20 grams
  • Fat: 15-20 grams
  • Fiber: 2-3 grams
  • Sodium: 800-1000 milligrams

Tips for Making Soondubu Jjigae

  • Adjust the Spice Level: You can adjust the amount of gochugaru and gochujang to control the heat level.
  • Add Kimchi: For an extra tangy flavor, add some chopped kimchi.
  • Use Fresh Ingredients: Fresh seafood and vegetables enhance the flavor of the stew.

Soondubu Jjigae is a versatile dish that can be customized to your preference, making it a comforting and delicious addition to your culinary repertoire. Enjoy experimenting with different ingredients to create your perfect bowl of Korean tofu stew!

oondubu Jjigae: Additional Details and Variations

More Ingredients

  • Kimchi: Adding kimchi can enhance the stew’s depth and provide a tangy flavor. It also adds additional vegetables to the dish.
  • Tofu Variations: While soft tofu (soondubu) is traditional, you can also use silken tofu for a similar texture. Firmer tofu is not recommended as it won’t provide the same creamy consistency.
  • Spices and Seasonings: Some recipes call for a bit of sugar to balance the heat and add depth to the flavor profile.
  • Fish Sauce: A small amount can add umami to the stew.

Additional Steps for Enhanced Flavor

  1. Marinating the Meat: Marinate the pork or beef in a bit of soy sauce, garlic, and sesame oil for 15-30 minutes before cooking to infuse more flavor.
  2. Homemade Broth: Making your broth from scratch using dried anchovies, kelp, and daikon radish can significantly enhance the dish’s flavor.
  3. Cooking in a Stone Pot: If available, cooking and serving in a traditional Korean stone pot (dolsot) keeps the stew piping hot and adds to the authentic experience.

Different Types of Soondubu Jjigae

  • Kimchi Soondubu Jjigae: Incorporates kimchi into the stew, giving it a tangy and slightly fermented flavor.
  • Seafood Soondubu Jjigae: Includes a variety of seafood such as clams, shrimp, and squid for a rich, oceanic taste.
  • Beef Soondubu Jjigae: Uses thinly sliced beef as the main protein, often marinated for additional flavor.
  • Vegetarian Soondubu Jjigae: Omits meat and seafood, focusing on vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini, and spinach. Use vegetable broth as the base.

Serving Suggestions

Soondubu Jjigae
Soondubu Jjigae
  • With Banchan: Serve Soondubu Jjigae with a variety of Korean side dishes (banchan) like kimchi, pickled radishes, and seasoned vegetables.
  • Steamed Rice: Always serve with a bowl of steamed white rice, which helps balance the spicy stew.
  • Garnishes: Top with additional green onions, sesame seeds, or a drizzle of sesame oil for added flavor and presentation.

Nutritional Benefits

  • High in Protein: The tofu and meat/seafood provide a good amount of protein.
  • Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: Vegetables like zucchini, mushrooms, and onions contribute essential nutrients.
  • Low in Carbohydrates: Depending on the ingredients, it can be relatively low in carbs, making it a good option for low-carb diets.

Tips for Perfect Soondubu Jjigae

  • Control the Spice: Adjust the amount of gochugaru and gochujang based on your spice tolerance. Start with less, as you can always add more.
  • Consistency: Aim for a broth that is rich and slightly thick, but not too watery. The soft tofu should break apart easily and integrate well into the stew.
  • Freshness: Use fresh, high-quality ingredients for the best flavor, especially the seafood and vegetables.

By experimenting with different ingredients and cooking methods, you can tailor Soondubu Jjigae to your taste preferences. Whether you prefer it with seafood, beef, or just vegetables, this versatile stew is a comforting and delicious addition to any meal.

The nutritional values of Soondubu Jjigae can vary based on the specific ingredients and quantities used in the recipe. However, here is a general nutritional profile for a typical serving of Soondubu Jjigae (about 1 cup or 240 grams):

General Nutritional Information (Per Serving):

  • Calories: 200-250 kcal
  • Protein: 15-20 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 10-15 grams
  • Fat: 10-15 grams
  • Fiber: 2-3 grams
  • Sodium: 800-1200 milligrams

Detailed Breakdown:


  • The calorie content primarily comes from the tofu, meat (if used), and any added fats like sesame oil.


  • Tofu provides a significant amount of protein. If the stew includes meat or seafood, the protein content will be higher.


  • Carbohydrates are relatively low, mainly coming from vegetables and any added sauces or seasonings.


  • Fat content can vary depending on the amount of meat and oil used. Tofu itself is low in fat, but sesame oil and fatty cuts of meat can increase the fat content.


  • Vegetables like zucchini, mushrooms, and onions add fiber to the dish.


  • Gochujang, soy sauce, and broth contribute to the sodium content. Korean dishes tend to be higher in sodium, so consider using low-sodium soy sauce or broth if you’re watching your intake.

Example Nutritional Values from Specific Ingredients (Approximate):

Soft Tofu (1 cup, 248 grams)

  • Calories: 150 kcal
  • Protein: 10 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 3 grams
  • Fat: 9 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Sodium: 15 milligrams

Gochujang (1 tablespoon, 18 grams)

  • Calories: 40 kcal
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Carbohydrates: 9 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Sodium: 500 milligrams

Pork Belly (1 ounce, 28 grams)

  • Calories: 100 kcal
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Fat: 10 grams
  • Sodium: 20 milligrams

Shrimp (3 ounces, 85 grams)

  • Calories: 84 kcal
  • Protein: 20 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Sodium: 190 milligrams

These values provide a rough estimate. For a more precise calculation, you can use a nutritional calculator based on the specific ingredients and quantities you use in your Soondubu Jjigae recipe.

Tips for Healthier Soondubu Jjigae

  1. Reduce Sodium: Use low-sodium soy sauce and broth to lower the sodium content. Be mindful of the amount of gochujang, as it can be high in sodium as well.
  2. Lean Proteins: Opt for lean cuts of meat, like chicken breast, or increase the amount of seafood, which tends to be lower in fat.
  3. Increase Vegetables: Add more vegetables such as spinach, bell peppers, and carrots to increase fiber and nutrient content.
  4. Control Oil: Use a minimal amount of sesame oil to reduce the fat content while still getting the nutty flavor.
  5. Whole Grains: Serve with brown rice instead of white rice to add more fiber and nutrients to the meal.


Sure, here are some frequently asked questions about Soondubu Jjigae, a popular Korean spicy soft tofu stew:

  1. What is Soondubu Jjigae? Soondubu Jjigae is a Korean stew made with soft tofu (soondubu), vegetables, seafood, meat, and sometimes also with kimchi. It’s known for its spicy and savory flavor profile.
  2. What does “Soondubu” mean? “Soondubu” refers to soft tofu in Korean. It’s characterized by its delicate texture and is a key ingredient in this stew.
  3. What are the main ingredients in Soondubu Jjigae? The main ingredients typically include soft tofu, Korean red chili paste (gochujang) or chili powder (gochugaru), assorted vegetables like onions, garlic, zucchini, mushrooms, and often seafood or meat like pork or beef.
  4. Is Soondubu Jjigae spicy? Yes, it’s known for its spicy flavor, primarily from the addition of Korean red chili paste or chili powder. However, the level of spiciness can be adjusted according to personal preference.
  5. Can Soondubu Jjigae be made vegetarian or vegan? Yes, Soondubu Jjigae can easily be made vegetarian or vegan by omitting the meat or seafood and using vegetable broth instead of anchovy or beef broth.
  6. What are some common variations of Soondubu Jjigae? Some variations include Kimchi Soondubu Jjigae, which incorporates kimchi into the stew for added flavor and tanginess, and Seafood Soondubu Jjigae, which includes a variety of seafood such as shrimp, clams, and squid.
  7. What is the traditional way to eat Soondubu Jjigae? Soondubu Jjigae is typically served hot and bubbling in a stone pot or earthenware bowl. It’s often accompanied by a bowl of steamed rice and various side dishes (banchan).
  8. How do I make Soondubu Jjigae at home? While recipes may vary, a basic recipe involves sautéing aromatics like garlic, onions, and chili paste in a pot, adding broth, tofu, and other ingredients like meat, seafood, or vegetables, and simmering until everything is cooked through and flavors meld together.
  9. Is Soondubu Jjigae healthy? Soondubu Jjigae can be a nutritious dish, especially if it’s loaded with vegetables and lean protein. Tofu is a good source of plant-based protein, and the stew often contains various vegetables, making it a balanced meal.
  10. Where can I buy Soondubu Jjigae? Soondubu Jjigae is commonly found in Korean restaurants, especially those specializing in stews and soups. Some Asian grocery stores may also sell pre-packaged Soondubu Jjigae kits or ingredients to make it at home.

Soondubu Jjigae is a delicious and popular Korean stew known for its spicy and savory flavors. Made with soft tofu, vegetables, and often seafood or meat, it offers a rich and comforting dining experience. Whether enjoyed at a Korean restaurant or homemade, Soondubu Jjigae is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit different dietary preferences and spice levels. With its nutritious ingredients and hearty appeal, it’s no wonder Soondubu Jjigae has become a beloved comfort food both in Korea and around the world.



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