Sundubu jjigae (순두부찌개) is a jjigae (Korean stew) in Korean cuisine. The dish is made with freshly curdled tofu that has not been strained and pressed to remove excess water, vegetables, sometimes mushrooms, onion, optional seafood (commonly oysters, mussels, clams and shrimp), optional meat (commonly beef or pork), and gochujang (chili paste) or gochu garu (chili powder). The tofu is very soft, because it has not been pressed to remove excess water. The differing degrees of water removal determines the differing firmness levels, with "silken" have the most water left and "extra firm" having the most water removed. The dish is assembled and cooked directly in the serving vessel, which is traditionally made of thick, robust porcelain, but can also be ground out of solid stone. A raw egg is put in the jjigae just before serving (also optional), and the dish is delivered while still bubbling vigorously. This dish is typically eaten with a bowl of cooked white rice and several banchan (side dishes).
The origins of using unpressed tofu in Korean cuisine is not well documented, but records from the Joseon dynasty archives show an early form of sundubu jjigae being served. Some historians assume that unpressed tofu use also spread to the masses during the Joseon dynasty.
In the 1990s, Korean immigrants in Los Angeles brought sundubu jjigae to the United States. Hee Sook Lee, a first-generation Korean immigrant, opened the first sundubu restaurant in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles.
- 순두부찌개 (in Korean). EncyKorea. Retrieved 2015-05-01.
- 순두부찌개 (in Korean). Korea Food Research Institute. Retrieved 2015-05-01.
- Kim, Victoria (January 24, 2008). "Korean immigrant reigns over an empire of tofu stew". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-05-01.
- A conversation with Roy Choi (YouTube). University of Southern California Korean Studies Institute. April 26, 2012. Event occurs at 7 minutes 20 seconds.
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