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Author Notes: If you have ever eaten at a Korean restaurant you have probably seen some one ordering that bowl of bubbling, molten red, lava known as Soondubu Jige. Soondubu is Korean for Extra soft/silken tofu, imagine the softest tofu you have ever had, and then double that in terms of tenderness, and that is soondubu. Jige is Korean for Stew. Soondubu Jige is an amazingly simple soup that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare (when practiced) and minimal skill to make. Honestly, whenever I make this for myself, there is no recipe, it's all by feel, smell, and taste, maybe once you have made it a few times you can try this method yourself. This version of Soondubu Jige is particularly good for the Western palate because it includes SPAM and American cheese. If you think SPAM and American cheese sounds blasphemous and disgusting, know that in South Korea, it is very popular to enjoy this stew in this way. If you detest SPAM and/or American cheese feel free to substitute them with a 1/4 cup of frozen seafood mixture which can easily be found at most Korean/Asian Supermarkets. NB: Soondubu Jige is always served in a "dolsot" or earthenware bowl, that is placed directly on a stove and cooked in. They are very inexpensive, but if your do not have access to one, you can make this in your smallest pot, and serve right away in a preheated bowl. Optionally, you can also ladle the stew in a broiler-safe bowl and broil it for a minute to get the same effect (Personally, I think this is not worth the effort, but some may want to get that "molten lava" experience). —Mr_Vittles
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon dashi stock powder (Omit, if you have issues with Monosodium Glutamate)
- 1/3 cup onion, thinly sliced or small diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 5-6 shiitake mushroom caps, cut into strips
- 2 scallions, divided into whites and greens; both thinly sliced
- 1-3 tablespoons gochugaru, Korean paprika/red pepper powder
- 1-2 tablespoons gochujang, Korean red pepper paste
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons mirin
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, plus 1/2 tsp for garnish
- 3/4 cup soondubu
- 1/3 SPAM "loaf", 1 inch diced
- 1 slice of American cheese, double down if you like extra cheesy
- 1 egg, brought to room temperature
- Add water to your smallest pot or dolsot, if using, and bring to a rolling boil over high heat.
- Add dashi stock powder, if using, and stir to combine.
- Add onion, garlic, shiitake mushroom, and white part of scallion; boil for 3 minutes.
- Add gochugaru, gochujang, soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil (gochujang has a tendency to stay whole, so make sure is dissolves completely); boil for 2 minutes.
- Add soondubu (if using seafood mix, add here), break it apart and boil for 2 minutes.
- Add SPAM and bring to full rolling boil. If using "dolsot" remove from heat and serve, top with egg and American cheese slice, garnish with the green parts of the scallion and a drizzle of sesame oil. If using bowl, quickly transfer and top with egg and American cheese slice, garnish with green parts of the scallion and a drizzle of sesame oil. NB: The residual heat from the soup will cook the egg, just remember to add it as soon as the bowl/"dolsot" hits the table.