Sunday, November 16, 2014

Spicy Korean Tofu Stew (Soon DuBu Jjigae)

Love, love me some spicy Korean tofu stew, especially on an icy cold winter day! Korean tofu stew comes in many iterations, but my fav combo happens to be pork with seafood in a medium-hot (spicy) broth. Typically, you would use very soft uncoagulated Korean tofu for this dish, but since that is only available in Korean markets, feel free to substitute with silken or soft tofu. This recipe is my version, which I've tweaked over the past year based on recipes I've perused in Korean cookbooks and online. 

This recipe makes four generous servings. 

1 1/2 lbs. pork loin, shoulder or butt, cut into thin 1" x 3" slices
2 lbs. Korean soft (uncoagulated) tofu, silken tofu, or 2 boxes soft tofu (14 oz. each)

Pork Marinade:
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice wine
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 clove garlic, finely minced

10 cups water

Soup Base:
1 tbsp Gochujang
1/2 cup Doenjang
1 -2 tbsp. Korean chili powder (Gochugaru), according to taste
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 scallions, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. dried anchovies (available in Korean/Asian markets), heads & innards removed (ok to omit if you can't find these)

1 package of flake-style artificial crab (aka, "Krab") or 1 6-oz. log of Red Kamaboko (steamed fish cake), sliced

8 oz. sliced button mushrooms
2 lbs. fresh Venus or Littleneck clams
1 lb. shelled and deveined medium shrimp
Sliced zucchini

Fresh eggs
Sesame oil
Finely chopped scallion

1. Slice the pork thinly across the grain and toss with the marinade ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (ok to marinate overnight). 

2. Add 10 cups of water to a medium stock pot. Stir in the soup base ingredients and bring to a boil. You can place the dried anchovies in a mesh tea ball or tied in cheesecloth (like a bouquet garni) before adding to the soup stock. I use the anchovies only for flavoring and remove them when the soup is done, but, hey - if you like the taste of these guys,  by all means feel free to leave them in. 

3. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add the sliced red Kamaboko or Krab, partially cover the pan, and simmer for 30 minutes until the stock has reduced a bit and the flavors have melded. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. 

4. Pour the stock into individual stone bowls (or any ceramic bowl that can be heated over a burner on the stovetop). Place each bowl directly over a burner over medium heat. Bring to a boil.  

5. Add any combination of pork slices, clams, shrimp, mushrooms, zucchini or other meats and veg of your choice to each of the bowls. Bring to a boil. 

6. When the clams have opened and the shrimp are just cooked through, add one 11-oz. package of soft Korean tofu to each bowl (or its equivalent in cubed soft tofu). Bring to a boil and crack an egg into each bowl, if desired.

7. Using oven mitts or kitchen towels, carefully remove each piping hot bowl to a plate. 

8. Garnish with fresh scallion slices and a few drops of sesame oil. Serve with steamed white rice on the side. 

You can use regular boneless pork loin..

Or, even better, Kurobuta pork butt.

Cut the meat into thin slices.

Marinate the pork slices in soy sauce, rice wine, black pepper and garlic.

Minced garlic, sliced onion, chopped scallions and sliced mushrooms.

Red Kamaboko fish cake.

Extra soft, uncoagulated Korean tofu.

Short of that, you can substitute with the more readily available soft or silken tofu.

Dried anchovies. If you can't find these - don't worry. Even though they add a great element of flavor, you can omit them from the recipe.

Add 10 cups of water to a medium stock pot. Add the sliced onion, scallions, onion, dried anchovies, garlic, gochujiang, doenjiang, gochugaru, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Bring to a boil. 

Seasonings: Black pepper, soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, gochujiang, and doenjiang.

Remove the anchovies, then add the sliced Kamaboko. Partially cover the pot and simmer the stock for 30 minutes.

Ladle the stock into individual oven-proof stone/ceramic bowls. Place each bowl over the burner of the stove and bring up to a boil over medium heat. Add the sliced pork and any seafoods (clams, shrimp, etc.) and/or veggies of your choice (mushrooms, zucchini, etc.) and cook until just done.

 Squeeze in the tube of tofu and gently break apart into large chunks. Bring the stew back up to a boil.

If desired, crack an egg into the boiling stew just before serving. 

Garnish with scallions and a few drops of sesame oil; serve with steamed white rice. 

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