Sundubu: Soft Tofu Stew

Too cool to be authentic.

If I was truly Korean, I would have heated the soup in the oven until it was bubbling like a volcano awaiting a virgin sacrifice.  It was still delicious.  I never realized how easy it was to make sun dubu until I bought "Quick & Easy Korean Cooking" by Cecilia Hae-jin Lee at World Market.  Combined with my proximity to H-mart, this slim volume has inspired me.  I have visions of passing it down to the girls who were robbed of the chance to make mandu with their Korean great-grandmother by pancreatic cancer.  

2 TBS Korean chile paste (gochujang)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp salt (I used beef better than bouillon and should have eliminated this salt--adjust based on the saltiness of your stock)

2 tsp Asian sesame oil (Kadoya is my favorite brand)

4 oz of thinly sliced beef (I eliminated this)

2 cups beef stock

9 oz. extra soft tofu

2 green onions, cut into 1" pieces

2 large eggs

Combine gochujang, garlic, salt and sesame oil in a small bowl

Bring beef and beef stock to a boil in a large pot.  Add the chile paste mixture and stir until thoroughly dissolved. Add the tofu and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add the green onions and cook for another minute or two.

Ladle soup into individual bowls and add one raw egg to each bowl.  Serve bubbling hot.

Don't worry, the egg will cook completely.  You will want kimchi with this soup--here is another recipe from Lee's book:

 kkakdugi: cubed radish kimchi

This recipe makes about one gallon.  It will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.  Always store in a glass container as it will render any plastic container unusable for anything but kimchi in the future.  Airtight is best unless you have a dedicated kimchi refrigerator.

1 bulb garlic, cloves peeled and trimmed

1 2" piece of ginger, sliced (I grated mine)

2 TBS Korean chile powder (not paste)

2 TBS kosher salt 

2 TBS sugar

2 large daikon radishes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes

1 bunch mustard greens, cut into 1" lengths

Put garlic, ginger, chile powder, salt and sugar in food processor (or combine with mortar/pestle like I did) and pulse until finely minced.

Put daikon and mustard greens in large bowl and mix with the garlic seasoning until the daikon is nice and red (I added more chile powder at this point).

Pack vegetables into your container and close tightly.  Let the jar sit in a cool, dark place for 3-4 days, depending on the weather (kimchi ferments faster in warmer weather). I let mine sit for 2 days.  Refrigerate after opening.

I have volunteered to help host the Korean culture lunch at Sophie's school.  I am sure there will be very few middle schoolers who want to try kimchi, including my own middle schooler, but I really hope I can translate my love of this culture into something meaningful for the kids.  I am not above resorting to Korean ice cream to get my point across.