WTKitchen: The Delicious Spiciness Of Haemul Sundubu Jjigae

The world of Korean food is so much larger than just Korean BBQ! For this edition of WTKitchen, I’ll be reviewing one of my favorite dishes: Haemul Sundubu Jjigae (해물순두부찌개). In English terms, this is referred to as spicy soft tofu stew with seafood!

This stew certainly lives up to its name and will make you break a sweat! The stew comes in different spice levels depending on how much you can handle and is filled with a variety of seafood, such as octopus, shrimp, and mussels. In addition, it has lots of silky, soft tofu of course!

This dish is often served in a stone pot, which is designed to keep the soup boiling hot for long amounts of time, rather than a normal ceramic bowl. Even after stirring the pot to help circulate the heat, it’ll still be steaming hot. However, the traditional Korean pepper flavor is worth the heat. This dish is often accompanied by a bowl of rice and a number of side dishes, such as Oi-muchim (오이무침/Spicy Cucumber Salad), Musaengchae (무생채/Spicy Korean Radish Salad), and Baechu Kimchi (배추김치)! One thing to keep in mind is that the stew will feel spicier than you think, so just be cautious or you’ll be tearing up and sweating. This is because the heat of the dish brings out the spice of the peppers even more.

Overall, this is a dish I would highly recommend trying out if you ever get the chance! Depending on what city you live in, you can probably find this dish at a nearby Korean restaurant. For those who are more adventurous, you can try the recipe below, courtesy of Korean Bapsang!

Haemul Sundubu Jjigae

1 package (11 ounces) sundubu (extra soft/silken tofu)
2 ounces beef or pork (rib eye, sirloin, pork loin or pork belly)
7 – 8 pieces of seafood assortment (shrimp, mussels, clams, and/or oysters)
1/2 small zucchini (2 – 3 ounces)
1/4 onion (2 – 3 ounces)
1 scallion
1 tablespoon red chili pepper flakes (gochugaru)- adjust to taste.
1 teaspoon sesame oil (use a little more if using more gochugaru)
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon soy sauce
salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)
pinch pepper
1 cup anchovy broth (or other broth or water)
1 egg (optional)

*Makes 1-2 Servings

  1. Cut the meat into small (about 1-inch long) thin strips. Clean the seafood. Cut the the zucchini into about 1-inch pieces. Dice the onion and scallion.
  2.  Add the red chili pepper flakes and sesame oil to a small pot and place it over medium heat. Stir until the pepper flakes become a bit like a paste (The red chili pepper flakes burn easily, so do not preheat the pot). Add the meat, onion, garlic, and soy sauce. Stir fry until the pork and onion are almost cooked, approximately 2 – 3 minutes.
  3. Pour in the broth (or water). Bring it to a boil and continue to boil for 3 – 4 minutes.
  4. Add the soft tofu in big chunks along with the zucchini. Bring to a boil again. Gently stir at the bottom of the pot once or twice so the tofu does not stick to the bottom. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes.
  5. Add the seafood and boil until the clams and mussels open, 2 – 3 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the chopped scallion right before turning the heat off. If desired, crack an egg into the stew right before serving while it’s still boiling hot.

Let us know what you think of Haemul Sundubu Jjigae! If you try the recipe, make sure to tweet us a picture of the results.

Shara is a writer and SNS manager for What The Kpop. She has been a fan of K-pop for eight years and loves groups like B.A.P, VIXX, MONSTA X, BTS and more! When she’s not trying out various Korean beauty products and trying new foods, she is studying for school or busy teaching taekwondo. Stay tuned for more of her reviews!

Media: Korean Bapsang

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