It’s been ages since I told you I would be uploading my simplified tofu stew recipe. I’m sorry it took so long!
Nothing beats Papa Choi’s piping hot tofu stew on a cold day but ain’t got no time to extract pork fat and prepare 4+ hours boiled beef stock do we? So I figured I’d test out a couple of simplified versions using pretty accessible ingredients from most people’s pantry…I think I finally got it.
First thing first, do NOT skip the first step, toasting the chili flakes. Just pouring oil and chili flakes into water/stock will not yield the same taste as toasting chili flakes first then adding the stock.
Secondly, Papa suggested that ratio is the most important factor in making tofu stew the easy way. To keep things simple there are three ingredients you need for leveling saltiness and those are dashida, hondashi, and salt, 1:1:1 ratio (so if you want to put 1 tbsp of dashida, then 1 tbsp for hondashi and salt). Per every one tablespoon of the salty seasonings, I use one tablespoon of chili flakes in step 1.
Dashida is a Korean instant beef stock that can easily be found at H-Mart or any Korean markets. It’s like the magic powder all the Korean Ahjuma’s religiously use in their soup. Knowing that you probably don’t have this, I tested it out with Knorr Beef Bouillon cubes and it worked out pretty decently.
Hondashi powder (can be found in most major supermarkets) is actually Japanese but it really helps with adding more flavor to the soup. Feeling lazy to go grab some? Just add more bouillon instead.
Thirdly, most Korean restaurants serve tofu stew with egg in it but I personally don’t like it. There are three options. 1.) Don’t put it in at all like me (I don’t like that egg thickens the soup), 2.) Drop it just before serving so it is sort of poached or 3.) Swirl it around until the egg is fully cooked then serve.
When it comes to choosing tofu, you don’t necessarily have to use “Korean” soft tofu as long as it is jiggly soft tofu and not firm tofu. I usually just stick with Sunrise Soft Tofu (blue packaging) since it can be found in pretty much any market for around $1.50 ish.
You always complain that I’m *apparently* trying to kill you with all the spices but I’m so proud of how far you’ve come in terms of tolerance. Your wine game is up and so is your spice game. So don’t go easy on the chili flakes! You can do it (I even snuck in a whole Thai chili last time I made this soup for you at your place).
Lastly, Happy Birthday C!