Before I started my Korean Food Projectsundubu jjigae was my favorite thing to order at Korean restaurants. It’s just such a satisfying dish: hot, spicy, filling and healthy.

I always thought sundubu jjigae looked complicated to make. Turns out, it’s not difficult at all. My plan is to cook it more often at home and try a wider variety of other dishes when I go out for Korean food.

Sundubu Jjigae (Soft Tofu Stew) — 순두부찌개


  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 4 oz. beef fillet or sirloin, thinly sliced
  • 1 to 2 tsp. garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 scallion stalks, chopped
  • 2 c. kimchi, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 6 c. water
  • 8 to 12 small clams
  • 10 oz. super-soft tofu in a tube (or soft tofu cut into bite-sized pieces)*
  • 2 Tbsp. Korean red pepper powder**

*Korean grocery stores sell special tofu, just for sundubu jjigae. This type of tofu is so soft that it comes packaged in plastic tubes rather than in square cases. (See photo above). When you squeeze the tofu out of the tube, it naturally breaks into pieces. If you can’t find this type of tofu, it’s fine to use the soft version of regular tofu.

**You can find plastic bags or canisters of Korean red pepper powder (called gochugaru in Korean) at Asian grocery stores or on for about $13 a pound. The consistency is between a coarse powder and a fine flake, so gochugaru is sometimes called red pepper powder or hot pepper powder and sometimes called red chili flakes. (See photo above.)


  • Heat both oils in a saucepan and stir-fry beef over high heat until it changes color.
  • Add the garlic and scallions and stir-fry for a few seconds.
  • Then, add kimchi and stir-fry until it is thoroughly heated, about 1 minute.
  • Add the water to the pan. Bring to a boil.
  • Switch off heat and add clams, tofu and red pepper powder.
  • Let stew heat through for a few minutes (longer if using tofu directly from the fridge.)
  • Serve immediately with rice.

[From The Food of Korea]