Tofu Kimchi Jjigae (aka Tofu Kimchi Stew). A vegan spicy stew with silken tofu in a warm savory and tangy kimchi broth. Ready in 30 minutes. Perfect as a main dish with some steamed rice.
What is Tofu Kimchi Jjigae?
Tofu Kimchi jjigae is a very popular Korean food served at many Korean restaurants or households. Koreans love to have this spicy food with a bowl of rice along with other side dishes or "banchan" like pickled daikon radish. Perfect on a cold day! Usually this hot bubbling stew is served in a Korean earthenware stone bowl to keep its warmth.
My version of tofu kimchi stew is a fantastic vegan recipe that is packed with flavor. I've included shiitake mushrooms, dried kelp and store bought vegan kimchi which doesn't contain fish sauce. Instead of using anchovy stock or chicken broth, we're using vegetable stock to make the base. I find it tastes just as delightful and flavorful. If you're not vegan, feel free to use regular kimchi and any stock you enjoy. After making this so many times, it's such a treat to be able to share this recipe with my readers here.
Please scroll down to the below Recipe card for full measurements
Note: Most Korean or Asian grocers will carry these ingredients. You may find some at your select grocery store or online, like on Amazon.
- Soft tofu or soon tofu: Also, this can be labelled as Silken tofu. It's the star ingredient of this spicy soup and usually sold in tubes or in square packaging. It's essentially extra soft tofu.
- Vegan Kimchi: The brand Pulmuone sells a "Vegan Kimchi". H-Mart and other Korean grocers will sell this type of kimchi. But if you're not vegan feel free to use traditional kimchi. Make sure the kimchi has been well fermented. You can usually check if there's a lot of kimchi brine at the bottom and the cabbage is more reddish.
- Kimchi brine: This is the juice from your Kimchi. Additionally, it's not usually sold as a separate ingredient.
- Yellow onion: Or sub with white onion.
- Kombu: This is also known as dried kelp. It's usually used to give a salty umami taste to kimchi soup.
- Shiitake mushrooms: You may use the dried kind and rehydrate them.
- Green onion: Aromatics will be needed to flavor this soft tofu stew.
- Vegetable broth or vegetable stock: Or sub with cold water. If you're not vegan, you can sub with chicken stock or beef stock.
- Sesame oil: This gives the kimchi tofu soup a nutty flavor.
- Soy sauce: You can also use salt to flavor this dish. But soy sauce is packed with umami flavor which benefits this vegan recipe. Make sure it's not the light or dark kind. Just your regular all-purpose soy sauce which usually is labelled as "Soy Sauce". You may sub with low sodium soy sauce if you wish.
- Gochugaru: This is known as Korean Red Pepper Flakes or Korean chili flakes. Overall, this makes the spicy broth.
- Sugar: This helps to balance out the salty flavors of the kimchi juice.
How to Make Vegan Tofu Kimchi Jjigae
In a small pot, add vegetable broth, dried kelp and shiitake mushrooms. Cover and bring to a boil. Let it simmer on low for 10 minutes. This is your broth.
Fry Onions & Kimchi
Meanwhile, in a separate small pot on medium heat, add sesame oil and fry yellow onions until translucent. Next add in kimchi and fry until juices have released.
Boil Broth with Kimchi & Onions
Then pour in the broth with the kelp and mushrooms. Season with soy sauce, gochugaru, and sugar and stir to mix. Cover with a lid and bring this to a boil on medium-high heat. Simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes.
Add Soft Tofu
Lastly, uncover and add soft tofu on top and allow tofu to warm for 5 minutes. Garnish with green onions. Enjoy with steamed rice.
Storage & Reheating
This dish will last up to 4 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge. To reheat, microwave for 2-3 minutes or reheat on the stovetop in a pot on medium heat until hot.
Can I use firm tofu?
Yes! Traditionally soft tofu is used but there's no right or wrong way to make this dish. So, feel free to use what you like or have access to.
Can I add vegetables to this dish?
Yes, feel free to add chopped napa cabbage or enoki mushrooms. It really pairs deliciously with this stew recipe.
Can I add meat to this Korean dish?
Yes, I suggest the following proteins:
- pork belly
- pork shoulder or any pork with fat running through it
- canned tuna
Is this the same as sundubu jjigae?
It is similar, however the main difference is that tofu kimchi jjigae is more acidic and tangier in taste. Furthermore, soondubu jjigae is less tangy and contains more soondubu tofu. Additionally, it also contains a raw egg in the center. However, both serve well with white rice.
Other Korean Recipes You May Like!
If you enjoyed this recipe, you may like these other Korean recipes:
- Kimchi Bibim Guksu (Cold Chewy Noodles)
- Korean Bibimbap
- Rabokki Korean Spicy Sweet Ramen
- Korean Japchae Noodles
- Jajangmyeon Korean Black Bean Noodles
- Mild Tteokbokki Korean Rice Cakes
Quick & Easy Tofu Kimchi Jjigae (Vegan)
- 200 grams silken tofu sliced
- ¼ cup yellow onion thinly sliced
- ½ cup kimchi well-fermented kind (chopped)
- 4 pieces kombu aka dried kelp
- 2 shiitake mushrooms (feel free to sub with dried shiitake mushrooms)
- 1 green onion sliced into 1 inch pieces
- 1 ¼ cup vegetable broth or sub with cold water
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon regular soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon gochugaru
- ½ teaspoon white granulated sugar
- In a small pot, add vegetable broth, dried kelp and shiitake mushrooms. Cover and bring to a boil. Let it simmer on low for 10 minutes. This is your broth.
- Meanwhile, in a separate small pot on medium heat, add sesame oil and fry yellow onions until translucent. Next add in kimchi and fry until juices have released.
- Then pour in kelp mushroom broth, soy sauce, gochugaru, and sugar and stir to mix. Cover with a lid and bring this to a boil on medium-high heat. Simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes.
- Lastly, uncover and add soft tofu on top and allow tofu to warm for 5 minutes. Garnish with green onions. Enjoy!
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