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The Very Best Korean Tofu Soup

If you’ve tried Korean Tofu soup, otherwise known as soondubu jjigae, you’ll know that it’s one of the tastiest out there.

In fact, we’d rank it alongside doenjang jjigae and kimchi jjigae as our top three. The best thing about this soup dish however, is that it’s actually super easy to make.

The Very Best Korean Tofu Soup

You’ll just require a few key ingredients to get the flavors just right, and we’ve compiled a list of these below, as well as some helpful tips and hints.

If you want to try your hand at making Korean tofu soup, you simply have to make the recipe outlined below. 

We guarantee that this soup will be a show stopper! Simply keep reading below to find out more. 

What Exactly Is Soondubu Jjigae?

Before we jump straight into our recipe, we need to cover what exactly soondubu jjigae is for those who don’t already know.

This popular Korean dish is essentially a flavorful broth that has lots of vegetables added to the mix, as well as some chunky pieces of tofu. 

It has a super rich umami flavor, with lots of scallions, mushrooms, garlic, and fish sauce added to the mix. You can choose whatever kind of protein you want to include in the dish.

Some people will enjoy adding chicken or beef to the broth, while others will prefer to create a seafood version. 

Either way, it’s the spicy broth that really makes this dish taste as good as it does.

You can actually choose to make the dish as spicy or as mild as you like. It all depends on the amount of chili flakes or powder that you choose to put inside. 

Some people will also use chili oil rather than regular when making this dish, and this can add to its spiciness too. 

When this dish is made in an authentic manner, it’s cooked in a large earthen pot. Before serving, a fresh egg will be cooked and added to the mix too. 

Below, we’ll show you how to recreate this restaurant favorite in the comfort of your own home. Simply keep reading to find out some of the key ingredients you’ll require. 

Ingredients You’ll Require To Make Korean Tofu Soup

In order to make the very best Korean tofu soup, there are some key ingredients that you’ll require. Below, we’ve made a list of these, along with some advice for each on which to buy. 

Soon Tofu

Soon tofu, or how we might call it ‘soft tofu’, is a specific type of tofu that is used traditionally in this dish.

Because tofu is such an integral part of the overall flavor and texture of the soup, it’s important to make sure that you get the right one. 

When you go to a Korean shop to purchase your ingredients, you will see that there are two different types of tofu available.

We’d recommend that you always purchase the soft tofu, as the other variety, that comes in a plastic container, can often be too hard. 

You’ll easily be able to see which tofu to shop for, as the soft variety comes in a long circular tube. This is the one that you’re searching for. 


One of the first things you’ll need in order to make this dish is some oil. We’d recommend picking up some red chili oil, as this is what is used traditionally in this dish.

If you feel like that might make it a bit too spicy for your liking, however, regular oil will do just fine too.


When it comes to choosing the right stock, traditionally, anchovy stock is used. This gives the soup the richest flavor possible.

This doesn’t mean that you absolutely have to opt for anchovy stock however, as you’re able to use chicken or beef stock too. 

If you want to make this dish vegetarian, we’d recommend choosing a vegetable based stock instead. Some people, in addition, will use kelp stock, which is a little harder to get. 

Red Chilli Flakes

Next you’ll need to make sure that you’ve got some red chili flakes stored in your pantry. These are what will give your soup its signature spiciness.

As we mentioned before, you don’t have to follow our measurements exactly when it comes to spice. Instead, just add as much or as little as you like. 


You’ll want to make sure that you have some garlic on hand too, as this helps to give the dish its signature aromatic flavor. We recommend crushing it rather than dicing. 


A regular white onion will do for this dish. 

Green Peppers

Another great vegetable choice for bulking this dish up. 


When choosing your mushrooms for the soup, the choice is really up to you. Whether you prefer shiitake or chestnuts, just choose your favorites. 


This will help to add a lot of flavor to your soup dish. We recommend choosing kimchi that’s fermented, as it will help to give the dish that sour taste that we all know and love. 


The last ingredient pertains to any kind of protein that you’d like to bulk up the dish.

Some people will enjoy adding seafood to their Korean soup, such as clams and prawns, whilst others prefer to chow down on some chicken or beef. 

As we mentioned before, it’s not necessary to add protein to the dish, as the flavors will still be the same. The choice is entirely up to you. 


Most of the items that you’ll require to make this soup, you’ll already have stored in your kitchen. 

We do recommend, however, that you use a:

  • Korean Earthenware Pot

The Korean earthenware pot is what is used traditionally in the making of this dish. Because of the material that the pot is made of, it helps to radiate and maintain heat.

This means that it can help to keep your dish hotter for longer after it’s finished cooking. Great for when you’re cooking for a large group of people. 

You can purchase these traditional earthenware pots in several places. Chances are that they’ll have one in your local homeware store.

If not, they sell them on online retail stores such as and 


Now that we’ve taken a look at the key ingredients for making this dish, we can move on to discuss the method.

As we mentioned above, this dish is incredibly easy to prepare, and should only take you a total of 30 minutes to complete. 

This makes it a dream for when you’re catering to larger crowds of people.

To find out how to make this traditional Korean tofu soup, keep reading below. 

Step 1

In order to make this Korean soup, first of all, you’ll need to stir fry your key ingredients. These include the garlic, kimchi, onions, green peppers, mushrooms and red chili flakes.

You should also add any protein that you’ve chosen into the pan, so that it has an adequate amount of time to cook. 

Stir these ingredients until they’re lightly fried for around 3 minutes. After you’ve done this, you can go ahead and add in the soft tofu. When it comes to the tofu, you can gently try to break it apart with your utensil in the pan. 

Don’t be too aggressive with it, as you still want to keep a few chunks in there to get the perfect texture. 

Step 2

After your ingredients are lightly fried in your pot, you can go ahead and add in the stock that you’ve prepared.

Remember that you can use any kind of stock that you like, be that anchovy, beef, chicken, or vegetable. 

You’ll want to bring this mixture to a boil in the pot, then you can go ahead and taste to see if it requires any salt or pepper.

The kimchi will probably taste a little bit sour at this stage of the making process, so if you want to counterbalance the flavors, some people add in some sugar to the mix. 

Step 3

After you’ve brought the soup to a boil, and tasted it to make sure that the flavors are balanced properly, you can go ahead and add your oil.

The oil that you choose depends on how spicy you want the dish to be. If you enjoy spice, add in some red chili oil

If you’re not too into spice, then opt for sesame oil instead. This helps to give the dish a super rich and luxurious taste that we absolutely adore. 

Step 4

This is the last step, and requires you to poach an egg to place in the soup itself. After you’ve done this, you can place the egg in the center of the soup, and then serve with some rice. 

How To Poach The Perfect Egg

When it comes to Korean soup, making the perfect poached egg to accompany the dish is absolutely integral. This is why it’s so important to get this step down first.

If you want some tips about how to make the perfect egg to accompany your soup, don’t worry, because we’ve got you covered. 

The first thing that you’ll want to do when it comes to poaching the perfect egg, is to make sure that the ones you’re using are super fresh.

The fresher the egg, the more it will be able to hold its shape as it cooks. Eggs lose their elasticity as they get older. 

Next, you’ll want to gently crack your egg into a bowl. In addition, in case the yolk does happen to fall apart, you’ve not made the mistake of putting it directly in the pan.

Add a little bit of vinegar to your egg, as this will be an important measure when it comes to preventing it from sticking. 

Fill up a pan with water, and bring it to a simmer on the stove. If the water is boiling, it simply won’t work. Grab a wooden spoon, and gently move it around in a circular motion in the water.

By creating this motion, you’ll be able to create a space for the egg to fall into. 

Next, place your egg in the center of the pan, in the area that you’ve been stirring around. Make sure that you do this as gently as possible, so that it doesn’t fall apart when you put it in. 

When it comes to cooking time, you’ll want to leave your egg for around 4 minutes. All stove tops are different however, and yours might cook quicker or slower depending on the variety.

Essentially, you’ll just want to make sure that the white portion of the egg is completely set before you take it out. 

Use a spoon to gently take your egg out of the pan. After this, you can go ahead and place it in your Korean soup. Hey presto, you’ve got the perfect egg!

Tips For Making The Very Best Korean Tofu Soup

We know that making a new recipe can be difficult the first time, even when things are pretty straightforward.

This is why we’ve compiled a list of some of our top tips, so that you can get your soup as perfect as possible the first time. 

Keep reading for some help and guidance for making Korean tofu soup. 

  • Soft Tofu – As we mentioned briefly above, you’ll want to make sure that you purchase soft tofu in order to make this dish. Soft tofu is pressed for the least amount of time, allowing all of the curds to blend. 

It’s super soft, and should have a similar texture to Jello. In terms of flavor, it will have a delicate milky taste. This makes it the perfect choice for Korean soup. 

  • Make Your Own Stock – Another piece of advice that we’d give readers is to always use fresh stock when possible. This will do wonders for the flavor of your soup. In addition, it’s also far healthier and more nutritious. 
  • Use Anchovy Stock – If you want your Korean soup to taste just like the ones you get in the restaurants, then we’d recommend using anchovy stock. It’s actually super easy to make yourself. 

In order to make anchovy stock, all you need to do is remove the guts from some anchovies, whilst keeping the heads intact.

After you’ve done this, simply soak them in some water. For maximum flavor, we’d recommend soaking the anchovies for around 20 minutes. You can leave them overnight, however, if you have the time. 

  • Use An Earthenware Bowl – As we suggested above, it’s always best to opt for an earthenware bowl when making your korean tofu soup. This is because they help to keep the mixture longer for warmer, as well as being perfect for making individual portions. 
  • Kimchi – Always make sure that you use fermented kimchi when making your soup, as this will help to give it the most flavor. Add in some of the juice too for extra added flavor. 
  • Be Creative – No two people will enjoy eating their soup the same way. Korean tofu soup is highly customizable, so we’d recommend changing things up and adding more or little spice, as well as picking your favorite protein to add to the mix. Just be creative!

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that we’ve taken a look at some top tips for making the perfect Korean tofu soup, we can move on to answer some frequently asked questions some of you had.

These cover everything from ingredients to storage. To find out more, keep reading below. 

How Do I Store My Korean Tofu Soup?

This was the most commonly asked question by people regarding Korean tofu soup. How exactly do you store it after making it?

After it’s properly cooled, you can go ahead and transfer your soup to an airtight container. 

It can then be stored in your refrigerator for up to five days. That’s right, this soup lasts super long, so you can enjoy it whenever you like.

If you want to freeze your soup, simply do the same as before and place it in an airtight container, then leave in your freezer to consume for up to 3 months. 

Can I Make This Recipe Vegan?

For those who were wondering whether or not this recipe could be made vegan, the answer is, absolutely.

If you want to make vegan Korean soup, all you have to do recplace the anchovy stock with vegetables instead. 

As well as this, make sure you use vegan instead of regular kimchi. 

What Kinds Of Vegetables Should I Include In My soup? 

As we mentioned above, be as creative as you like when it comes to your soup. You can include a whole host of different vegetables.

Our favorites are shiitake mushrooms, green peppers, and plenty of onion. You can, however, experiment by using things such as eggplants or zucchinis. 

Final Thoughts

To sum up, making Korean tofu soup couldn’t be easier with this recipe. If you want to make this restaurant favorite in the comfort of your own home, simply follow the instructions outlined above.

Always choose soft tofu for your recipe, and we also recommend making your own anchovy stock to give it an authentic taste.

Justin Roberts