Soft Tofu and Vegetable Stew

I love soft silken tofu, and this spicy soup is surprisingly addictive. The mushroom stock here gives this stew, or "jigae," a deep earthy taste and complexity. The sweet zucchini and creamy egg cut the spiciness as well. This is one of my favorite "jigaes," and it is so good for you. Perfect for a cold winter's evening.
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 35 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

Stock:

4 dried shiitake mushrooms

1 piece kombu (dried kelp seaweed), about 5 by 2 inches (13 by 5 centimeters)

1 spring onion or scallion, roughly chopped

1/2 onion, roughly chopped

Stew:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoons Korean chile flakes (gochugaru), or to taste

1/2 onion, chopped

1 teaspoon grated ginger

2 cloves garlic, grated

2 cups (100 grams) mixed mushrooms (button, enoki, oyster, shiitake), stems trimmed, sliced lengthwise into 1/3-inch-thick (1-centimeter-thick) pieces

2 cups (50 grams) baby spinach leaves

1 cup (85 grams) sliced napa or Korean cabbage

1 small courgette (zucchini), cut into quarter moons about 1/3 inch (1 centimeter) thick

1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt

18 ounces (510 grams) soft silken tofu, broken up into large chunks

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

4 to 5 chives, cut into thirds crosswise

1 red chile, sliced thinly on the bias

1 spring onion or scallion, sliced thinly on the bias

Directions

  1. For the stock: In a large pot, place the mushrooms, kombu, spring onions, onions and 3 cups (700 milliliters) water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Strain the stock, discarding the solids, and set aside.
  2. For the stew: In a heavy, thick-bottomed medium pot, drizzle in the vegetable oil and warm over low heat. Add the chile flakes and onions and saute over medium-low heat until the onions are just soft, taking care not to brown them. Add the ginger and garlic and give it a quick mix, then pour in the reserved stock. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then stir in the mushrooms, spinach, cabbage and courgette. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Add the tofu carefully, as it will break apart easily, and simmer until the tofu is heated through. Crack the eggs in on top, give it a gentle mix to break it apart and cook briefly.
  3. Garnish the stew with toasted sesame oil, chives and sliced chiles and spring onions. Serve immediately.

Cook’s Note

If you aren't a vegetarian, try using clams and clam juice in the broth as they add a great flavor, and start the stew off with a little bit of bacon as well. You can try to find my favorite silken tofu, which comes in a tube, in Korean markets.

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