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Silken Tofu Soup is an amazing, hearty soup made with silken tofu and pork. It’s known in Korea as soondubu jjigae and is one of my favorite dishes! I’ve tried making this many times when I was younger, but it wasn’t until now that I have a Korean silken tofu stew recipe that I’m happy and ready to share with all of you! I hope you like this Korean silken tofu soup recipe, and if you enjoy it, share it with those you love!

Watch how to make Silken Tofu Soup

Silken Tofu Soup: My favorite Korean Stew!

I remember my first time having this silken tofu soup! It was the winter 2003 and I was visiting relatives in Toronto, Canada. They took us to Korea town for lunch. At the time, I knew zilch about Korea, let alone its amazing food!

They took us to a small shop filled with local Koreans. When we sat down, my cousins ordered for us. In a few minutes, we were brought steaming hot bowls of red stew. The soup was still bubbling in the pot, which was a welcome sight on such a cold winter’s day!

Along with that, we were served a smaller stone bowl with purple-colored rice. I had no idea what I was looking at, but I knew it looked delicious. The first bite was like falling in love for the first time!

The intense savoriness and that unique flavor was unforgettable. It went perfectly with that delicious rice that was full of so many kinds of grains that I didn’t even know existed.

By the time we finished our meal, I was already asking if we could be back for dinner. It got a laugh out of everyone, but I was being totally serious. Don’t you just hate when that happens? 

The Quest To Make Silken Tofu Soup at home

Upon returning home, I dove straight to the computer and tried to look up as much information on this stew as I could. I soon found out that the Korean name was Soon Dubu Chigewhich means “soft tofu stew”.

However at that time, Korean food wasn’t widely known and there were few reliable sources online to find an authentic, delicious silken tofu soup like the one I had at that restaurant.

Not being one to give in so easily, I soon found out that there was a tiny Korean market in the city where I lived. This surprised me because there are hardly any Korean people where I was living at the time. I made my journey out there to see if I could figure out what ingredients may possibly go into this stew, as well as hoping that they sold it pre-made.

When I got to the market, I was so overwhelmed by ingredients that I’d never seen before. I realized that my uneducated attempts to figure out what went in it would go to waste. I did, however, find a little packet of instant silken tofu soup powder.

It looked like a packet of ramen seasoning and was cheap enough, so I bought some, along with Korean soft tofu and headed home to try it out.

When I finally gathered up all the ingredients I could remember being in the stew, I set out to make it with the instant powder. The taste was a bit underwhelming, to be honest, but I was happy to have something that at least reminded me of what I had. 

An Angel Answers My Prayers

Silken tofu soup continued to remain my most sought-after Korean food, but I never could find a good recipe until I met Mrs. Eats’ mother. This woman is a pure genius when it comes to food and she taught me the secrets to making a silken tofu soup that’s even better than what I had at the restaurant!

What goes into a good Silken Tofu Soup?

The most important component of the soup is the stock. For this, we need to use three ingredients: dried sardines, kelp, and daikon radish. These three ingredients, when boiled together, create a beautiful golden stock that adds so much umaminess to the stew.

Next are the ingredients. The stew I had in Toronto all those years ago was a seafood variant that was filled with clams and shrimp. I like to make an easier version using thinly sliced pork, mushrooms (I use Japanese maitake mushrooms), onions, and plenty of garlic.

The silken tofu is the main star of the dish, however. The real soon dubu that you get in Korea comes in a tube and the tofu is so soft that it almost cannot hold its own shape.

I’ve found that soft, silken tofu, while not as soft, is an excellent substitution if you can’t get the real stuff!

Finally, the secret ingredient that gives this stew that unique flavor is Gochugaru: dried korean chili flakes. Don’t confuse these with the chili flakes that you may sprinkle on your pizza; they’re completely different!

They have a wonderful sweet-earthiness to them that goes so beautifully in this this dish. It also lends that brilliant crimson hue to the soup that you cannot get otherwise. Without gochugaru, this dish would NOT be a proper silken tofu soup!

When the dish is complete and ready to serve, it gets topped with a complete raw egg. For my home-version, I’m just using the egg yolk, however.

The reason I don’t use the whites is because this dish is traditionally served in a heated stone bowl. The bowl keeps the soup at near-boiling temperatures as you eat, so the egg can completely cook through.

At home, however, the soup drops rapidly in temperature, so adding in a raw egg would just result in a slimy, gloopy, uncooked mass. Adding just the egg yolk let’s you enjoy its richness without the slimy texture. However, feel free to omit this if you’d like!

Here's what you'll need to make Silken Tofu Soup at home

The most important ingredient are the things you’ll need for the stock, the tofu, and the gochugaru. The choice of vegetables and meat are up for you to decide!

  • Thinly sliced pork belly – Feel free to substitute this with your choice of meat or seafood
  • Silken tofu
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms – Feel to use your preferred type or omit this
  • Gochugaru (See it on Amazon)
  • Sesame Oil (See it on Amazon)
  • Dried baby sardines (See it on Amazon)This one works well with this soup
  • Konbu kelp (See it on Amazon) – This is a high-quality konbu from Hokkaido.
  • Daikon radish

Silken Tofu Soup: Easy to make and so delicious!

I know that you’re going to enjoy this Silken Tofu Soup! It’s hearty, delicious, and is incredibly filling! Pair this with a bowl of hot white rice, and you’ve got some good eating, anytime of the year!

I know that you’re going to enjoy this Silken Tofu Soup! It’s hearty, delicious, and is incredibly filling! Pair this with a bowl of hot white rice, and you’ve got some good eating, anytime of the year!

Check out some of our other great Korean recipes!

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Silken Tofu Soup (Soon Dubu Chigae)

My favorite Korean stew! It's spicy, savory, and filled with soft, creamy tofu. A winning combination and winning meal!
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Korean
Servings 6
Calories 500 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • Pork Belly 1 lb, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Silken Tofu 2 - 3 blocks
  • Onion 1
  • Garlic 4 cloves
  • Fresh chilies optional
  • Shiitake Mushrooms 2 (more if you like mushrooms)
  • 3 tbsp Gochugaru (See it on Amazon)
  • 2.5 tbsp Sesame Oil (See it on Amazon)

Stock

Garnish

  • Egg yolk 1
  • Green onions sliced

Instructions
 

  • Remove the heads and the internal organs of the niboshi and add them into a sauce pan along with the konbu.
  • Slice the daikon into matchsticks and add them into the sauce pan along with 4 cups of water.
  • Bring the contents of the sauce pan to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Allow it to simmer for 20 minutes, or until the stock reduces by half. Strain the stock and reserve the liquid on the side.
  • Slice the onions into strips and garlic into slices.
  • Slice the mushrooms into thin slices, along with the fresh chilies if you’re using them.
  • In a small bowl, add the gochugaru, along with the sesame oil and mix together and set aside.
  • Drain the tofu and set aside.
  • In a large pot, cook the onions and garlic (and the chilies if you’re using them) over medium high heat until softened.
  • Add the mushrooms and continue to cook for about 2 – 3 minutes.
  • Add the pork belly and cook it until no longer pink.
  • Pour in the seafood stock and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat, and allow it to cook for about 7 minutes.
  • Remove lid and stir in the chili oil paste until well combined. Season the stew with salt (and sugar if you’d like to balance out the heat).
  • Add in the tofu and break it into large, rough chunks with a spoon.
  • Allow the stew to simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the tofu is completely heated through. Adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Spoon the stew into a bowl and top with a raw egg yolk or a poached egg. Garnish with green onions and serve with fresh rice.

Video

Keyword korean food, spicy, stew, tofu

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