Kimchi Soondubu Jjigae
This classic Korean stew features silken tofu in a fiery kimchi broth. While kimchi jjigae traditionally starts with browning thinly sliced pork, this vegetarian version features mushrooms instead for a similarly meaty texture. Dried kelp deepens the broth’s flavor with subtle briny notes; reserved kelp can be chopped and tossed in soy sauce and sesame oil for a fun side dish or topping for rice. Be sure to use well-fermented kimchi for an intense broth that is spicy, tart and pungent all at once. Leftover stew makes a fantastic base for ramen noodle soup the next day.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1(6-inch) square dried kelp (also called dashima or kombu)
- 3tablespoons neutral oil, such as safflower or canola oil
- 4ounces white button or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (2 cups)
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 2scallions, finely sliced, plus more for garnish
- 1tablespoon minced garlic
- 2tablespoons gochugaru (Korean red-pepper flakes)
- 2cups chopped kimchi plus ¼ cup kimchi juice
- 1tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1medium zucchini (6 ounces), quartered lengthwise and sliced ¼-inch thick
- 1 ½pounds silken tofu, broken into large pieces
- 4large eggs (optional)
- Steamed short grain rice, for serving
Step 1In a large Dutch oven, combine kelp and 6 cups of water, and bring to a simmer over high. Cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Discard or reserve kelp for another use. Transfer broth to a large bowl and reserve.
Step 2In the empty Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly golden, 3 minutes. Add scallions, garlic, gochugaru and remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and cook, stirring, until well combined and very fragrant, 1 minute. Add kimchi and cook, stirring, until the bottom of pot looks dry, about 2 minutes. Add reserved kelp broth, kimchi juice, soy sauce and zucchini, and bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until zucchini and kimchi are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in tofu and cook until warmed through, 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Step 3If using eggs, crack them into the pot, leaving some space in between each egg. Cover and poach over medium-low until whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes.
Step 4Divide jjigae between 4 bowls and garnish each with scallions. Serve hot with rice on the side.