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Korean tofu stew with kimchi (Soondubu jjigae)

This dish plays with all the traditional Korean ingredients in perfect harmony, kimchi, gochugaru and black sesame seeds. Korean cuisine is characterized by bold and spicy flavours, slow-cooked stews and grilled meats. overlaying these dishes is the amazing variety of "banchan" dishes that serve to stimulate your palate. It is one of my favourite cuisines, an this dish is part of the reason why.

This is a bold stew, a deep colour from the gochugaru paste and heavily spiced. the tart kimchi adds a lightness to the dish, the Napa cabbage texture and the plain tofu on top act as the foil for the flavours. They come together beautifully on your tongue, this is a dish I really enjoyed.

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For more recipes from this cookbook, click here.


1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons olive oil or any neutral oil

1 small onion, finely minced

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

4 cups Napa cabbage, cut into thin strips

5 cups vegetable stock or water

2 cups commercial kimchi, minced

4 tablespoons tamari sauce

2 tablespoons gochujang paste

1-2 teaspoons of sugar

Gochugaru chilli flakes.

1 box of soft tofu

3-4 sliced scallions

Black sesame seeds

Heat the oils in a deep pot and add the onions and garlic. Sauté on medium-low heat till the onions are deeply coloured, about 4-5 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook till the cabbage is soft and begins to get brown.

Add the stock, kimchi, tamari, gochujang paste and sugar. Mix in well and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the spice with additional gochugaru chilli flakes. The stew should be tart, spicy and deeply flavoured with the gochugaru paste.

To serve, pour the heated stew into a wide shallow bowl. Cut the tofu into two large pieces along the horizontal axis. Top with the scallions and the black sesame seeds.

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