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This Vegan Sundubu Jiggae (Korean Tofu Stew) is a meat-free version of a traditional beloved dish made with vegetables, kimchi, and silken tofu. It’s the best way to warm up on a chilly night.
What is Sundubu Jiggae?
Sundubu Jiggae is a classic Korean tofu stew. It’s my personal favorite dish whenever I’m feeling under the weather because it’s cozy, comforting, spicy, and really helps to warm the body up. Also, many tofu houses (restaurants specializing in Korean tofu stew) will often have a vegan option on the menu, made with veggie broth. It’s typically served in a stone pot (called a tukbaegi) so it stays sizzling even when it hits the table. It’s usually served with a side of rice and kimchi. Often, the soup is served as a single serving in the clay pot, but this recipe makes enough for 2, so share it with a loved one.
Although many sundubu recipes are made with a base of anchovy, seafood, or beef-based broth, you can easily make it vegan with homemade dashi or vegetable broth.
Ingredients for Vegan Tofu Soup
The typical ingredients for this soup include zucchini, soft tofu, kimchi, gochugaru (korean red chilil flakes), mushrooms, and scallions. If you’re like me an not a huge fan of kimchi, you may be surprised by this recipe. Adding a little bit of kimchi really gives the stew a nice kick and also helps give it that classic vibrant red color.
Here’s what you need for this vegan version:
- Gochugaru. You can find these Korean chili flakes at an Asian market.
- Vegetables. This soup is flavored with garlic and onion, with zucchini and enoki mushrooms for texture.
- Kimchi. Make sure it’s vegan!
- Tamari. This is gluten-free soy sauce. You can use regular soy sauce if you’re not gluten-free.
- Sesame oil. for a bit of a nutty flavor.
- Sugar. I use coconut sugar, but another kind of sweetner will work.
- Dashi. Make your own vegan dashi with mushrooms and seaweed!
- Tofu. Look for silken tofu, which falls apart into delicious curds in the soup.
Can I Make Sundubu Jiggae Less Spicy?
Yes. This dish is quite spicy as it’s written but can be just as delicious with less or no chili flakes or kimchi. You can also use mild kimchi if you prefer.
Ingredient Swaps and Substitutions
This soup is easy to customize. For example, you can add in your favorite veggies of choice, such as bell peppers, leeks, broccoli, or greens. You can also use a different kind of mushrooms if you like.
Tofu is a key component of sundubu, and I recommend opting for silken tofu. You can find it in tubes and/or tetra paks at most grocery stores. But if you have trouble sourcing it, look for an Asian grocery store or Korean grocery store near you. It’s pillowy soft and the texture is part of the experience when eating this Korean tofu soup, but if you do prefer firmer tofu, you can also substitute with that.
More Korean Soup Recipes
- Chilled Korean Soybean Soup (Kong Guksu)
- Korean Kale and White Bean Soup (vegan, gluten free)
- Korean Radish Soup (Vegan Mu Guk)
If you make this vegan sundubu jiggae recipe, be sure to let me know what you think with a comment below!
- Heat Safe Stone Pot optional
- 1 tbsp neutral oil
- 1-2 tsp gochugaru korean chili flakes
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 yellow onion chopped
- 1/4 cup vegan kimchi optional
- 1/2 zucchini medium sized, diced
- 1 tbsp tamari
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tsp coconut sugar
- 2 cups vegan dashi
- 1 pack silken tofu
- 1/2 pack enoki mushrooms or other mushrooms of choice
- 2 stalks green onion thinly sliced
- Bring your pot up to medium heat and add neutral oil, gochugaru and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until fragrant, being careful not to burn.
- Add onion, kimchi (if using) and zucchini and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add Tamari, toasted sesame oil, coconut sugar and cook for 1 minute.
- Add vegan dashi to the pot, bring the mixture to a low boil and adjust the broth to taste.
- Add tofu and mushrooms to the pot, let cook for a few minutes, until tofu is warm through and mushrooms are tender.
- Garnish with scallions and enjoy with a side of rice.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.