All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Tofu no chige / jjigae stew with tofu (quick version with kimchi)

Individually prepared jjigae in clay pots keeps you warm for a long, long time.


(For two, cooked separately in two small clay pots)

Small handful (1/2) soft tofu
Small handful mushrooms (five small shiitake and 1 large crimini mushroom in photo)
3 green onions
2 chigensai baby bok choy leaves (photo) or any small handful leafy green vegetables (optional)
1 clove garlic
1 knob ginger
Small handful (50-80 g) hakusai napa cabbage kimchi
1 tbsp miso
1/2 tbsp gochujang
1/2 niboshi dried sardines
15-20 natto fermented soybeans
2 eggs (raw or onsen tamago [half-cooked])
100 cc sake + 300 cc water
2 tsp sesame oil (not in photo)


Grate garlic and ginger. Thinly slice green onions. Slice or tear mushrooms into a smaller size. Divide chingensai into white and green sections; cut white sections lengthwise into three or four; cut green sections lengthwise into two and crosswise into two (roughly making each piece 4-5cm). Chop kimchi into 1-2cm pieces. Wrap niboshi in paper towel and crush with a knife handle or bottle opener.


Heat 1 tsp sesame oil in each clay pot, add garlic, ginger, niboshi, kimchi and natto, and saute on medium heat while stirring often for 4-5 minutes after ingredients start to sizzle.


Add a part (50-100 cc) of sake + water mixture to each pot and stir well, going over the bottom with spatula to remove any ingredients stuck to the bottom.

Add remaining sake + water mixture, and bring to boil.


In the meantime, take some liquid from the pot and loosen miso and gochujang.


When soup boils, add white sections of chingensai and mushrooms.

When mushrooms are cooked, add miso + gochujang mixture, tofu and green sections of chingensai, and cook for a few minutes.

Add one egg each and green onions, and cook for a few more minutes.

  • Adjust heat to keep the soup bubbling until the end. If liquid level goes down too fast, add water; otherwise, the soup will get very salty.
  • Iriko young dried sardines work equally well as niboshi. When iriko is used, crushing is unnecessary.
  • Think of sauteing kimchi for several minutes as extracting all the good flavors from this pickled cabbage. It seems time-consuming but is well worth the effort for the end results.
  • Natto gives additional depth to the soup and is especially good with plain-flavored ingredients (tofu, white-fleshed fish).

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