Thursday, February 16, 2012
I know that the photo above doesn't look very appetizing, and doesn't do justice to the recipe for this delicious soup. It was already quite tricky getting the hot pot from the stove to the table as it was almost full to the brim. I didn't attempt to try moving it next to the window for a little more light, and even if I did, I doubt it would have made much of a difference as there wasn't much sunlight coming in anyway especially late in the evening. These days, I'm too busy to even bother using a tripod, which is presently tucked away somewhere at the back of the closet.
I have never actually ordered this soup before when eating out, although my mum and sister have, and they like it. I can't even remember the last time I dined at a Korean restaurant, but it must be at least a year ago. I guess it's partially because my kids don't take spicy food, nor do they particularly like Korean dishes (now, if only they had a kid's menu!). Anyway, I decided to try making this at home. It is a mildly spicy stew made with anchovy broth, pieces of soft tofu with an optional egg added on top. I came across many recipes for this which use kombu to make the stock. As I hardly use kombu, I hesitated to buy a whole packet of it just to make this dish. So, it was fortunate that Hyosun from Eating and Living posted a recipe for Sundubu Jjigae recently, and I was happy to see that she used anchovy broth, and no kombu (which I believe is a variety of kelp)!
I make Korean stews (jjigae) quite often using dwenjang (bean paste) as I love the rich and robust flavour and colour it adds to the soup. Sundubu jjigae doesn't contain dwenjang, which makes it a clear soup with bits of red pepper flakes (gochugaru) floating in it. In Hyosun's recipe, she uses fresh seafood whereas I settled for the frozen prepacked mixed seafood that I had in the freezer. Next time, I will definitely have to use fresh seafood as it would make such a difference to the sweetness of the stew. As for the tofu, I used the rectangular block of silken tofu instead of sundubu which comes in tube form. The last time I used sundubu, I found that it wasn't as soft as the normal block silken tofu, but which I now realise that silken tofu breaks up too easily in the stew, which is probably why the picture of my stew above has messy bits of tofu floating in it.
When I do make this again next time, I hope it will look half as good as the one on Eating and Living. Hop over to her website for the full recipe and see what it should really look like! :)