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Spicy Kimchi Tofu Stew

Spicy Kimchi Tofu Stew

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Consider this fiery Korean kimchi jjigae-inspired tofu stew recipe a weekend detox. It’s spicy, clean, and capable of reversing any damage the previous night may have caused.


  • 1 16-oz. package silken tofu, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 cups gently squeezed cabbage kimchi, chopped, plus 1 cup liquid
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
  • 8 scallions, cut into 1” pieces
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Recipe Preparation

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Reduce heat, carefully add tofu, and simmer gently until slightly puffed and firmed up, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer tofu to a medium bowl.

  • Heat vegetable oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add kimchi and gochujang and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, 5–8 minutes. Add kimchi liquid and 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until kimchi is softened and translucent, 35–40 minutes.

  • Add scallions, soy sauce, and tofu; simmer gently until tofu has absorbed flavors, 20–25 minutes (tofu will fall apart a little). Add sesame oil; season with salt and pepper. Ladle stew into bowls; top each with an egg yolk and sesame seeds.

Nutritional Content

Calories (kcal) 170 Fat (g) 12 Saturated Fat (g) 2.5 Cholesterol (mg) 205 Carbohydrates (g) 7 Dietary Fiber (g) 1 Total Sugars (g) 1 Protein (g) 7 Sodium (mg) 560

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Spicy Kimchi Tofu Stew

Reviews SectionLoved this! I added ramen to make it more of a complete meal, fried the leftover egg whites (no waste!), and sliced them in strips and added them to the bowl. Also added a splash of fish sauce in the bowl - it tempers the spiciness a bit.AnonymousNew York01/07/20Love the recipe! I've noticed that changing the brand of kimchi and pepper paste has a huge influence on the flavor.The only thing I do different is that I marinate lean pork ribs the day before using the light brown soy bean paste, then add it in right after you bring the soup to boil. The lean ribs I get are in little strips, like 1 inch by 8.ChickenFingersSanta cruz, ca01/10/19this is really really good! I made a few changes based on what I had on hand. I added some ginger and thai green chilis before adding the kimchi. I didn't have quite enough kimchi so I added some chopped cabbage and gochugaru. Lastly instead of the egg I used some won ton noodles. Will definitely be making again!

While it looks incredibly spicy, I usually find this kimchi stew to be relatively mild. Despite their angry red color, Korean chili flakes are somewhat mild when compared to, say the crushed red pepper flakes you sprinkle over your cheese slice at the pizza parlor.

That said, feel free to adjust the recipe according to your spice tolerance. If an innocent buffalo wing sets you running, you might want to take a pass on this one. But if a healthy dash of Tabasco on your scrambled eggs sounds appealing, you can definitely handle the heat in this dish.


For this kimchi jjigae recipe, most of these ingredients can be found at an Asian grocery store.

Traditionally, the tubed soft tofu is used in Korean stews. It is softer in texture than the cubed ones but if the cubed ones are all you can find then you can use that instead - just make sure it's soft and not medium or hard.

Tip #1 : If you are using the tofu that come in tube form, don't use the spout to get it out of the packaging. That will result in strings of goop (the tofu is very soft). The easiest way to get it out is to just cut the tube right in half and the squeeze directly into the stew.

For the shiitake mushrooms, I used dried ones which require a good rinse and 10-15 minutes of soak time in cold or warm water. Fresh shiitake can be used as well and will produce an even more flavourful broth.

Korean pepper flakes are usually found in the dried spices aisle. I find it quite mild in spiciness but it provides a nice peppery flavour. If you are looking for more heat in your stew, I'd suggest adding a few tablespoons of Sambal Oelek into the stew.


Most of these ingredients can be found in an Asian grocery store.

For the radish, I stayed traditional and used a Korean radish and did not use a daikon radish . Korean radishes are sweeter and have milder radish flavour. They are thicker in size and have a more prominent greeness at the top half. However if you can only find daikon that works as well, it will just produce a stronger tasting broth.

The anchovies for the broth are dried and can usually be found in the refrigerator section, not to be confused with the anchovies in oil.

How to cook Kimchi Jjigae

  1. In a small pot, combine kelp, shiitake mushrooms and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil and let it simmer on low for 10 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, in a medium pot add remaining ingredients, except for tofu. Then add in your vegan mushroom broth and stir to mix. Cover with a lid and bring this to a boil. Then let it simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes.
  3. When there are only 10 minutes left, carefully add slice tofu on top of stew. Cover with a lid and it simmer for remaining time. Serve with rice.

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This Korean kimchi soft tofu soup has a fiery broth that infuses custardy tofu with deep flavors and spices. Traditionally served at the table boiling hot in its cooking vessel with an egg cracked in the middle, this healthy dish full of vegetables and protein warms the belly and satiates the palate.

What to buy: While you can find kimchi at many grocery stores (and it’s fine to use store-bought here), try your hand at making your own.

Korean chile paste, also known as kochujang or hot pepper paste, is a fermented mixture of glutinous rice, soybeans, and red pepper powder. It is found in jars or plastic tubs in Korean markets and will last indefinitely refrigerated in a covered container. Add spoonfuls to soups, marinades, and salad dressings for a spicy kick.

Game plan: You’ll need to make white or brown rice before you begin.

Tips for Eggs

Eggs should keep a consistent and low temperature. This is best achieved by placing their carton in the center of your fridge. The eggs should also remain in their original packaging to avoid the absorption of strong odors.

It is wise to follow the “best by” date to determine overall freshness, but eggs can be tested by simply dropping them into a bowl of water. Older eggs will float while fresh eggs will sink. This is due to the size of their air cells, which gradually increase over time.

Cooked eggs have a refrigerator shelf life of no more than four days, while hard-boiled eggs, peeled or unpeeled, are safe to consume up to one week after they’re prepared.

The beauty of an egg is its versatility. Eggs can be cooked in a variety of ways. Here are some tips in accomplishing the four most common preparations.

Scrambled: Whip your eggs in a bowl. The consistency of your scrambled eggs is a personal preference, though it seems like the majority of breakfast connoisseurs enjoy a more runny and fluffy option. In this case, add about ¼ cup of milk for every four eggs. This will help to thin the mix. Feel free to also season with salt and pepper (or stir in cream cheese for added decadence). Grease a skillet with butter over medium heat and pour in the egg mixture. As the eggs begin to cook, begin to pull and fold the eggs with a spatula until it forms curds. Do not stir constantly. Once the egg is cooked to your liking, remove from heat and serve.

Hard-boiled: Fill a pot that covers your eggs by about two inches. Remove the eggs and bring the water to a boil. Once the water begins to boil, carefully drop in the eggs and leave them for 10-12 minutes. For easy peeling, give the eggs an immediate ice bath after the cooking time is completed. For soft-boiled eggs, follow the same process, but cut the cooking time in half.

Poached: Add a dash of vinegar to a pan filled with steadily simmering water. Crack eggs individually into a dish or small cup. With a spatula, create a gentle whirlpool in the pan. Slowly add the egg, whites first, into the water and allow to cook for three minutes. Remove the egg with a slotted spoon and immediately transfer to kitchen paper to drain the water.

Sunny Side Up/Over Easy/Medium/Hard: For each of these preparations, you are cracking an egg directly into a greased frying pan. For sunny side up, no flipping is involved. Simply allow the edges to fry until they’re golden brown. To achieve an over easy egg, flip a sunny side up egg and cook until a thin film appears over the yolk. The yolk should still be runny upon serving. An over medium egg is flipped, fried, and cooked longer until the yolk is still slightly runny. An over hard is cooked until the yolk is hard.

Eggs can easily be frozen, but instructions vary based on the egg’s physical state. As a general rule, uncooked eggs in their shells should not be frozen. They must be cracked first and have their contents frozen.

Uncooked whole eggs: The eggs must be removed from their shells, blended, and poured into containers that can seal tightly.

Uncooked egg whites: The same process as whole eggs, but you can freeze whites in ice cube trays before transferring them to an airtight container. This speeds up the thawing process and can help with measuring.

Uncooked yolks: Egg yolks alone can turn extremely gelatinous if frozen. For use in savory dishes, add ⅛ teaspoon of salt per four egg yolks. Substitute the salt for sugar for use in sweet dishes and/or desserts.

Cooked eggs: Scrambled eggs are fine to freeze, but it is advised to not freeze cooked egg whites. They become too watery and rubbery if not mixed with the yolk.

Hard-boiled eggs: As mentioned above, it is best to not freeze hard-boiled eggs because cooked whites become watery and rubbery when frozen.


  1. 1 Heat the oil in a large saucepan with a tightfitting lid over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. 2 Add the chile paste, stir to combine, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the zucchini, season with salt, and stir to combine. Add the kimchi and cook, stirring occasionally, until simmering, about 2 minutes. Add the broth and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Taste and season with salt as needed.
  3. 3 Using a large serving spoon, add the tofu by very large spoonfuls, taking care not to break up the tofu into little bits. Gently press down on the tofu with the back of the spoon so that the broth is mostly covering it. Simmer until the tofu is heated through and the flavors have melded, about 3 minutes.
  4. 4 Crack the eggs, if using, into the simmering mixture. Cover and simmer until the whites are set, about 2 minutes. Divide the stew and eggs among 3 bowls, being careful not to break up the tofu or the egg yolks. Garnish with the scallions and serve immediately with rice on the side.

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Hi! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas full of good cheer and all the best kinds of food! I can’t believe Christmas is over for another year and the new year is fast approaching. We’re getting into deep winter. It’s super cold outside and all I want to do is hibernate and eat all the cozy winter foods. I think I’m pretty much in love with winter because it means there’s lots of staying inside, keeping warm, and eating. The name of the game is keeping warm and the best way to keep warm is to eat spicy things, am I right?

One of my all time favorite spicy things to eat is sundubu jjigae, or spicy tofu stew. It’s super easy to make, once you have all the ingredients and it comes together in a flash.

What is Sundubu Jjigae/Spicy Kimchi Soft Tofu Stew?

Sundubu jjigae is a korean stew that’s made with soft tofu. In Korean, sundubu is soft tofu and jjigae is stew, thus soft tofu stew! I kind of think of it more as soup then stew but I guess that’s a question of what one considers a soup versus a stew. Anyway, the soft tofu that’s used in this stew is the kind that comes in a tube, not the kind that’s in a rectangle/square. It’s extra soft, really mild and so good. You’ll find it at the Asian grocery store in the tofu section, next to all the tofus. It pairs perfectly with the spiciness of the soup, adding a kind of cooling counterpoint to the spiciness. Sundubu is super warming, comforting, and perfect for winter.

What special ingredients do I need?

Well, the truth is, you will need some special ingredients. But once you have the core ingredients, it’s really easy to make this stew all the time. If your pantry’s stocked with dashi and gochugaru and you’re pretty much good to go you’ll just need kimchi and tofu, which are pretty much available at most grocery stores these days.

Dashi – Technically, sundubu uses a Korean anchovy stock, made from tiny dried anchovies, but we’re going to use Japanese instant dashi. If you want to be as close as you can to the Korean anchovy stock, go for iriko or niboshi dashi which is the Japanese equivalent. If you can’t find iriko/niboshi dashi, regular dashi (which is made from dried bonito and kombu) will be just as delicious. Instant dashi is readily available online at at Asian grocery stores. It’s really easy to make – it either comes in granules that dissolve in hot water or in a tea bag that you soak.

Gochugaru – Korean red chili pepper flakes are coarsest ground red pepper that are not anything like those red pepper flakes you see in shakers at Italian restaurants. Instead of seeds and skins, they’re more of a flake/powder. The taste hot, sweet, and a little bit smoky. It’s pretty much used in all Korean cooking, so if you’re planning on diving into Korean food, it’s a pantry must. They sell it at Asian grocery stores and online.

For the tofu and kimchi, you’ll be able to find these almost anywhere but if you’re at the Asian grocery store, be sure to pick up sundubu, which is soft tofu found in a tube. You can definitely just use whatever tofu you like and it’ll taste good, but if you’re going for a classic sundubu, the tube tofu is what you want. As for kimchi, there are a ton of brands out there. I tend to always buy a Korean brand, just cause, well, kimchi is Korean!

If you want this spicy soup but don’t have time/want to make the effort, you can cheat it a little. Use chicken stock instead of dashi, regular tofu instead of soft tofu, and whatever sort or protein you want. Sundubu is pretty much with all proteins, from seafood to chicken, so you can feel free to go wild.

What to eat it with
It usually comes with a bowl of rice and, if you’re lucky, a raw egg that’s dropped right into the boiling hot soup. I like it on it’s own too, when I’m going low-carb. And when I’m not, I’ve been known to have it with noodles or even pasta!

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Side dishes


Rice cakes


Jjigae is our comfort food





Main dishes

Fried chicken

One bowl meals




Staple ingredients










Cold dishes


Not Korean

Kimchi Tofu Stew (10 Minute Dinner)

Welcome to Day 6 of cooking Street Food for 21 days! Today’s dinner takes 10 MINUTES to make, yes, 10 MINUTES. Kimchi Tofu Stew, I promise it is the easiest and tastiest 10-minute stew you will ever find!

Don’t give in on having instant noodles just yet this stew will help save your lazy weeknight dinners! The best part is, there are so many variations of ways to make it. You can add in extra protein such as pork belly or even toss in noodles to make this a Kimchi Noodle Stew the choices are endless! This dish is something that I use to order ALL THE TIME until I realized how easy it is to make at home.

The trick is to have a new batch of kimchi in your fridge at all times, and dinner will always be ready! Should I make homemade kimchi soon? Let me know, and I can cook it for sure!



1 Green Onion (chopped and separate with white and green)

2 tsp of Korean Chilli Flakes

1 cup of Chicken Stock/ or vegetable stock

  1. Turn the heat up to medium-high and drizzle sesame oil in a pot.
  2. Add in Korean chili flakes and white parts of the green onion and saute together for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
  3. Next, add in kimchi and chopped garlic and saute together for 1 minute.
  1. Add in chicken stock, fish sauce, and soy sauce and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add in the tofu and let it simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Optional, but highly recommended, add in an egg and let it simmer on high heat for 30 seconds. Garnish with green onion.

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Vegan Sundubu jjigae Recipe (Spicy Soft Tofu Stew)

If you love Asian stews, you’re going to love this vegan take on Sundubu Jjigae by star home chef Karishma Mehta (a.k.a. @BowledOverbyKari).

For the unfamiliar, Sundubu Jjigae (pronounced SOON-DOO-BOO JIG-AY) is a hot and spicy soft tofu stew from Korea.

While typically made with minced pork, this vegan version by Karishma is just as thrilling, starring two key ingredients – gochugaru (Korean spice mix) and soft silken tofu which has a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth texture. This soup is usually served in a dolsot bowl – a stone pot that keeps heat trapped and keeps the soup bubbling even after it’s taken off heat. However you can use the a regular pot to cook this soup too.


The base of the vegan Sundubu Jjigae is intense in flavour, with the kick of spice from the gochugaru rendering this soup so comforting and perfect for the rainy weather lashing down on us this monsoon. Serve this soup with rice of your choice (short grain rice preferably).

Tofu Kimchi Stew

This soup gets its authentic Korean flavor from gochujang, a spicy-sweet red condiment made from red chiles and fermented beans. The thick paste is used extensively in Korean cuisine as a condiment for everything from grilled tofu to soup. You’ll usually find it sold in small plastic tubs at Asian markets and many well-stocked grocers. You can adjust the spiciness of the soup by varying the amount of gochujang you use. Serve with hot steamed rice for a warming meatless Monday meal.

Tofu Kimchi Stew


  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup (4 oz./120 g) Napa cabbage kimchi, coarsely chopped, plus 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) liquid from kimchi jar
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) vegetable broth
  • 1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/4-inch (6-mm) pieces
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) mirin
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. gochujang or sambal oelek chile paste
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) soft tofu
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. dark sesame oil
  • 3 Tbs. thinly sliced green onions

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the canola oil. Add the onion and sauté until it begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the chopped kimchi, garlic and ginger, and cook for 2 minutes.

2. Add the broth, zucchini, mirin, chile paste, sugar, 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) water and the reserved kimchi liquid and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the zucchini is tender, about 10 minutes. Break up the tofu into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces and gently stir it into the soup. Cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.

3. Taste the broth—it should be spicy, sweet and a little sour from the kimchi. Adjust the seasoning to taste with soy sauce and additional chile paste, if desired. Stir in the sesame oil, ladle the soup into the bowls, sprinkle with the green onions and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Find more simple, healthy meals for every night of the week in our book Weeknight Vegetarian , by Ivy Manning.