Tofu stew is not exactly the first thing I would order when in a restaurant. For one, it does not contain any mention of meat in its name, unlike Bulgogi beef or kimchi pork. Usually, tofu is the sidekick, like when you order fish soup and there are a few pieces of tofu floating around. For this tofu stew though, it really takes centre stage and I love love love how soft the tofu is. I don’t really understand why there is any tofu other than silken tofu, which is da bezz. So yes, I don’t order tofu stew (sundubujiggae) very often but I cannot help but say, this was the BEST tofu stew I’ve had in a very long time, perhaps as far as my memory goes. It does not look good, unfortunately. However, it tasted very satisfying. Perhaps because I was also vey hungry, at 9.15pm. (:o It took me 1 hour to cook it! And I had already prepared my soup base!! :O)
In any case, this is a warm, satisfying dish and I will definitely be making this again.
I don’t like onions and have long detested their presence in fried egg, pho, vegetable dishes and can’t see why people go crazy over onion rings. However, since I started cooking, I love using them in dishes and don’t mind eating them as much. They add a very nice sweetness to soups and I also get some satisfaction from cutting them, sans the tear-inducing part. I also love to add garlic. If the recipe calls for one clove of garlic, I put in two. Teehee!
While reading up on how to cook this dish, one cook said that cooking korean food is really a journey of tasting as you go. An iterative process, if you may. I hate it when instructions are unclear (e.g. salt to taste) but that’s really how cooking this dish goes. It’s about tasting it and adding more ingredients if necessary, to suit your preference. Perhaps, this is why I liked this dish so much. It’s just as I wanted it to be. HAHA.
Once again, thanks Maangchi for this delightful recipe.
- 14 small ikan bilis / anchovies
- ½ cup soya beans
- 4 cups of water
The main dish
- 2 tablespoons hot pepper flakes
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- ½ cup pork belly cut into small pieces
- ½ packet of shimeji or enoki mushrooms
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- 1 clove minced garlic
- ½ cup well-fermented kimchi chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 tube of soft tofu (sundubu)
- 1 egg
Let’s do it:
Making the stock
I didn’t have any kelp so i substituted with soy beans and ikan bilis/anchovies. These two ingredients are a lot less expensive than buying chicken bones to make stock and require a lot less time over the stove too. (Gas money savings!)
- Wash soybeans and ikan bilis once or twice
- Place them in a pot, along with 4 cups of water.
- Allow it to come to a boil
- Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes
- Taste stock. If it has a semblance of soup even without any salt or ingredients in it at the moment, you know you’re on the right track. It should also be yellowish, like a blond ale.
Pulling it altogether
- Combine the hot pepper flakes and the sesame oil in a small bowl and mix well.
- Heat a small heavy pan or pot for 1 minute.
- Add the vegetable oil, onion, and garlic. Stir it with a wooden spoon for 1 minute.
- Add the pork. Stir for 3 minutes until the pork is no longer pink.
- Add kimchi and keep stirring for a minute. Add ½ cup anchovy stock. Cover and cook for 7 minutes over medium heat.
- Throw in mushrooms
- Add the salt and the sugar and mix well.
- Cut the tube of soft tofu into half and squeeze it out into the pot. Gently break up the tofu with a wooden spoon. If you want, add a few tablespoons of stock.
- Put the hot pepper mixture on top and spread it with the spoon.
- Crack the egg and put it on top, in the centre of the stew. Let it bubble and sizzle for 1 minute.
- I was very fortunate to get a very nice packet of pork. It was cut up into just the right size so I didn’t need to cut it up and it had just the right amount of fat to meat on it. YUM!
- The kimchi was also delicious, though not the cheapest ($8.95) and also not my favourite kimchi in Singapore.