Delicious, comforting, and cozy kimchi soondubu that’s easy and quick to make! You can use beef, pork, or mushrooms if you are looking for a vegan soondubu jjigae.
Korean soondubu jjigae (or Korean spicy tofu soup) is one of my favorite meals on a cold day. It’s served while it’s still piping hot, packed with silken tofu, vegges, and meat or seafood, and the broth can be as spicy or mild as you want it. It’s a comfort food for many Koreans, and it’s also considered a hangover food as well. My favorite kind is kimchi soondubu jjigae with beef.
What is Soondubu Jjigae (Korean Spicy Tofu Soup)?
Soondubu is a Korean tofu stew recipe made with silken tofu as the main ingredient. It’s usually made with gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) to yield a spicy broth, and you can vary the veggies and meat (or seafood) you put in it. If you’ve ever been to a restaurant specializing in soondubu, you’ve probably seen many variations. I decided to go with the most popular version with this kimchi soondubu jjigae recipe.
Kimchi Jjigae vs Soondubu
If you aren’t familiar with Korean food, you might get confused between kimchi stew or kimchi jjigae vs soondubu. While there are some similarities (especially when you put kimchi in soondubu like this version), the texture is what makes the difference. Soondubu has a much softer and fluffier texture from the silken tofu and the egg that gets cracked in at the end. Kimchi jjigae uses firm tofu that doesn’t break down in the stew, and uses a lot more kimchi which is the predominant flavor.
Watch a Quick Video of This Recipe
Korean Tofu Stew Recipe
To create restaurant-quality soondubu, I actually tested out this dish over 20 times to make the best soondubu recipe that I can make. It’s moderately spicy, soft and fluffy, and can be modified to make it vegan or to vary up the protein. I personally prefer a beef soondubu recipe so that’s what you see in the photos. However, you can use pork or even shrimp. The whole thing takes less than 30 minutes, and it’s just so delicious and wonderful with a side of rice!
Ingredients in Kimchi Soondubu Jjigae Recipe
All the ingredients can be found at Asian market and/or online. Once you have them, the recipe is very easy and quick! Here are what you need:
- sesame oil
- kimchi: Make sure to use vegan kimchi if you are vegan.
- meat: For beef soondubu recipe, you can use any cut of tender steak like skirt steak or flat iron steak. For a pork version, pork chops, pork belly, or pork tenderloin will work. For vegan or vegetarian soondubu recipe, use enoki mushrooms.
- kimchi juice
- gochugaru: There are two types of gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes): coarse and fine. You will need coarse flakes to make this kimchi soondubu. You can find them here.
- silken tofu: This is the type you need for soondubu tofu. You can find them at most grocery stores these days. They are extra soft and gives this Korean tofu stew recipe that extra fluffy texture.
- salted shrimp: Salted shrimp, called saewoojeot, is basically tiny shrimp that’s been salted and fermented. It adds a ton of flavor to dishes, much like fish sauce or soy sauce. If you are making vegan soondubu jjigae or if you are just having a hard time finding salted shrimp, just use soy sauce in this recipe.
- egg: You can omit if you are vegan. An egg is traditionally added at the end to make the texture of the stew smooth and fluffy.
- green onions
How to Make Soondubu
Here’s a quick and easy instructions on how to make Korean tofu soup:
- Make sure to chop the onion, garlic, and kimchi before you begin cooking. Also, slice the meat into small pieces.
- Heat sesame oil in a pot over medium high heat, then add onion and garlic. Cook stirring for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned.
- Add meat, then cook for 3 minutes until browned on the outside.
- Add water, kimchi juice, gochugaru, and kimchi, and stir. Once this mixture comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Stir in silken tofu chunks and salted shrimp, then simmer for 3 minutes.
- Crack an egg in and stir.
- Remove from heat, sprinkle with green onions, then serve.
Frequently Asked Questions
I would say this kimchi soondubu recipe is moderately spicy. You can adjust the amount of gochugaru depending on your spice level.
Soondubu will last in the fridge store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Just heat it up on the stovetop until it comes to a boil when you want to eat it again.
If you enjoyed this kimchi soondubu jjigae recipe, you might also like…
- Instant Pot Korean Oxtail Soup (Kkori Gomtang) – Paleo, Whole30
- Fluffy Korean Steamed Eggs (Gyeran Jjim Recipe)
- Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim Recipe)
- Kkakdugi – Korean Radish Kimchi (Paleo, Whole30, Keto, Vegan Option)
- Kimchi Braised Keto & Whole30 Pork Ribs (Dweji Galbi Kimchi Jjim) – Stove Top & Instant Pot Method!
Korean Soondubu with Kimchi (Beef, Pork, or Vegan)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/4 cup onion chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 4 oz skirt steak or pork belly (can use any tender steak or cut of pork) or enoki mushrooms, for vegan
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup kimchi juice
- 1 tbsp gochugaru plus more to taste
- 1/2 cup fermented kimchi sliced thinly
- 12 oz silken tofu
- 1 tsp salted shrimp (saewoojeot) or soy sauce, for vegan
- 1 egg omit for vegan
- Chopped green onions for garnish
- Before you begin, chop the onion, garlic, and kimchi. Slice the meat into small pieces.
- Heat sesame oil in a pot over medium high heat, then add onion and garlic. Stir cooking for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned.
- Add meat and cook stirring for 3 minutes until browned on the outside.
- Stir in water, kimchi juice, gochugaru, and kimchi. Once it comes to a boil, lower heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Stir in large chunks of silken tofu and salted shrimp, then simmer for 3 minutes.
- Crack an egg in and stir.
- Turn off heat, sprinkle with green onions, then serve.
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