Spicy Korean Soft Tofu Stew (Soondubuchigae)

Spicy Korean Soft Tofu Stew (Soondubuchigae)

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
517 Calories
30g Fat
11g Carbs
54g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 517
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 30g 38%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 83mg 28%
Sodium 1447mg 63%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 54g
Calcium 664mg 51%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Stew is comfort food in Korea, and this spicy Korean soft tofu stew (soondubuchigae) doesn't disappoint. It's filling, warm, and quite popular on the menus of Korean restaurants.

Like many Korean stews, soondubuchigae can be adjusted for different spice levels and flavor preferences. Vary your gochugaru (red pepper powder) according to your taste and your spice level preference.

Spicy Korean soft tofu stew traditionally calls for soft uncoagulated tofu, which has a higher water content than firmer varieties of coagulated tofu (which are made more firm by pressing more water out of them). Soft, uncoagulated tofu normally is sold in tubes in Korea and in Asian markets in the United States. If you're unable to find soft uncoagulated tofu, you can substitute soft or extra soft silken tofu.


  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 pound/1 cup beef (or pork, thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper powder (gochugaru)
  • 2 cups anchovy stock (or beef stock or water)
  • 3 cups soft tofu (or silken tofu)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 pound unshucked clams (or 1 cup shucked clams, rinsed)
  • 2 scallions (sliced)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Spicy Korean Soft Tofu Stew (Soondubuchigae) ingredient

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. In a soup pot, stir-fry the beef, garlic, and gochugaru in the sesame oil for about five minutes.

    beef, garlic, gochugaru, and sesame oil in a pot

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Add anchovy or beef stock or water and soy sauce to the pot. Bring to a simmer.

    stock and soy sauce added to the beef mixture in the pot

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Add soft tofu and return to simmer.

    soft tofu added to the soup in the pot

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  5. Add clams and simmer until the clams are cooked, about 10 minutes, until they shrink, or until the shells open (if using unshucked).

    soup with clams cooking in a pot

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Add scallions and take off heat.

    Spicy Korean Soft Tofu Stew (Soondubuchigae) in a pot

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi


  • This tofu stew can be made completely mild to very spicy. we've listed a medium amount here. Soft tofu stew with no spice is referred to as 'white' in Korean restaurants.
  • Uncoagulated tofu is usually sold in tubes, but you can use silken tofu if you can't find the really soft stuff. Just slice it into small cubes and cook as directed.