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Soft Tofu and Vegetable Stew

I love soft silken tofu, and this spicy soup is surprisingly addictive. The mushroom stock here, gives this stew or “jiggae” a deep earthy taste and complexity to the dish. The sweet courgettes/zucchinis and the creamy egg cut the spiciness as well. This is one of my favorite jiggaes and it is so good for you. Perfect for a cold winter’s evening.


  • Stock

  • 4 dried shitake mushrooms

  • 3 cups (700 milliliters) water

  • 1 (roughly 5 x 2 inches/13 x 5 centimeters) piece kombu (dried kelp seaweed)

  • 1 spring onion or scallion, roughly chopped

  • ½ onion, roughly chopped

  • Stew

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • ½ onion, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons Korean chili flakes (gochugaru), or to taste

  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger

  • 2 cloves garlic, grated

  • 1 small courgette or zucchini, cut into quarter moons, about 1-centimeter/-inch thick

  • 2 cups (50 grams) baby spinach leaves

  • 2 cups (100 grams) mixed mushrooms (button, enoki, oyster, shitake), stems trimmed, sliced lengthwise into 1-centimeter/-inch thick pieces

  • 1 cup (85 grams) 2 centimetre/1-inch thick sliced napa or Korean cabbage leaves

  • 18 ounces (510 grams) soft silken tofu, broken up into large chunks

  • ½ to 1 teaspoon  kosher salt or sea salt

  • Garnish

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil

  • 4-5 chives, cut into thirds crosswise

  • 1 spring onion or scallions, sliced thinly on a bias

  • 1 red chili, sliced thinly on a bias

  • Note

  • If you aren’t a vegetarian, try using clams and clam juice in the broth as they add a great flavor and start the stew off with a little bit of bacon as well. 

  • In Korean markets you can try to find my favorite silken tofu which comes in tube.


  • 1.

    For the stock: In a large pot, place the water, mushrooms, seaweed, scallions/spring onions and onions. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, covered, for 45 minutes. 

  • 2.

    Strain the stock, discarding the solids/boiled items, and set aside.

  • 3.

    For the stew: In a heavy thick-bottomed medium pot, drizzle in the vegetable oil and warm over low heat.

  • 4.

    Add the onion and the gochugaru. Sauté over medium-low heat, until onions are just soft, taking care not to brown them. 

  • 5.

    Add the ginger and garlic, give it a quick mix, then pour in the reserved stock. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then stir in the courgette/zucchini, spinach, mushrooms, and napa or Korean cabbage. 

  • 6.

    Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.

  • 7.

    Season with salt then add the tofu carefully as it will break apart easily. 

  • 8.

    Simmer until the tofu is heated through. Crack a couple of eggs in on top and give it a gentle mix to break it apart and cook. 

  • 9.

    Garnish the stew with chopped chives, scallions/spring onions, and red chilies.  Serve immediately.


Copyright, 2014, Judy Joo, All rights reserved

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