Soups and stews really make up the backbone of the Korean diet. Historically, beef was a scarce commodity, so grilled galbi and bulgogi were reserved for special occasions. Despite what else is on at the table, there's always soup or stew.
Stews (you'll recognize them by the suffix "-jjigae") are generally cooked quickly, bringing together a cacophony of ingredients. Soondubu is quite popular among young people after clubbing here in New York City, but this hearty protein-rich stew is perfect for any cold winter night.
Korean Soondubu Jjigae
1 bag Smooth Digestion Tonic
1 cup loosely packed Mushroom Mix
2 palm sized pieces kombu
4 cups water
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp, about 5 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, small dice
½ cup kimchi, rough chop
1 tsp salt
½ tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp gochugaru or cayenne pepper
1 tbsp sesame oil
Tofu, silken or soft, ¾ pack
1 cup bean sprouts
Scallion, sliced thinly
Make broth using tonic bags, dried mushrooms, kombu, and water. Simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Afterwards, strain and set aside
In a small pot, heat oil. Sauté onions on medium high heat until translucent then add garlic and kimchi and stir to combine
Add about 2 cups broth with salt, sugar, gochugaru or cayenne pepper, and sesame oil. Stir and bring to a boil
Add about ¾ of a pack of tofu, broken into large chunks, and add bean sprouts. Cook until lightly bubbling
Crack an egg into the sundubu and poach for 1 minute. Remove from heat, top with scallions and sesame oil. Serve with rice and extra kimchi on the side
To make this a vegan recipe, do not add egg and use vegan kimchi and sauce. Add daikon radish for cooling effect on body.