Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sundubu Jjigae

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! :)


kankana said...

I don't care much for the photo out here because the recipe tells the complete story. It's sounds so flavorful and the color is gorgeous!

Mel said...

I think the photo is good. And of course and I believe this dish is very much appetizing too especially taken during winter time! I loves Korean food.... (eek...I once open a Korean BBQ restaurant!)

smbp said...

I think the photo is great :) Love the recipe and post; so different!

Unknown said...

I don't know what you're talking about. Your sundubu jjigae looks so delicious. These Korean stews are not photogenic, and I have a tough time with every one of them. You're right that Korean sunbudu has a slightly firmer texture than the block silken tofu. But you did a great job regardless. Thank you so much again for trying out my recipe and mentioning it. I really appreciate it. Cheers!

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

I agree with everyone here. Even if you didn't say anything about photos, I wouldn't notice that you were not happy with the photos! Seriously! Sundubu Jjigae is my husband's favorite dish and I know he'll be happy if I make this. It looks really Delicious!

Fern @ To Food With Love said...

Thank you everyone for such nice and encouraging words :)
@Mel: A Korean bbq restaurant? Really? Wow, interesting!
@Hyosun: I'm always looking forward to trying your wonderful recipes. I've bookmarked so many but haven't had time to try yet!
@Nami: Your husband sure loves spicy food (although this is really not that spicy) :p

lena said...

i just came back from the link. okay, your photo looks appetising enough for me and i can see that you're having a feast hv stew meat , some curries and this delicious looking soup, can i join u?? ha!