This surprisingly addictive spicy tofu stew is perfect for a cold evening. The mushroom stock lends a deep, earthy taste and complexity, while the sweet courgette and creamy egg cut the heat. There are so many different types of jjigae; this is my favourite, although I usually make it with seafood.




  • onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 spring onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 (13 cm/5 in long) piece dried kelp (dashima)


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp gochugaru (Korean chilli fl akes)
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or fi nely chopped
  • 1 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 small courgette, halved lengthways and
  • cut into 1 cm slices
  • 60 g (2. oz) baby spinach
  • 150 g (5. oz) sliced assorted mushrooms (button, enoki, oyster, shiitake)
  • 100g (3. oz) thickly sliced Korean or Chinese cabbage leaves
  • 400 g (14 oz) soft silken tofu, drained
  • Sea salt

To Serve

  • Toasted sesame oil
  • Handful of chives, cut into 7.5 cm (3 in) pieces
  • Roasted sesame seeds


For the stock

In a large pot, combine the onion, dried mushrooms, spring onions, kelp and 750 ml (1. pints) water and bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 45 minutes. Strain, discarding the solids, and set aside.


In a medium heavy-based pan, heat the oil over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and chilli flakes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened. Stir in the garlic and ginger, add the stock and bring to a simmer over a medium-high heat. Add the courgette, spinach, fresh mushrooms and cabbage and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes until the vegetables are softened. Carefully add the tofu in chunks, season with salt and gently stir, trying to keep the tofu intact as much as possible. When the tofu is heated through, crack an egg into the pan and gently mix it into the stew.

Remove the stew from the heat and top with a drizzle of sesame oil, the chives and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Serve in bowls.


If you aren’t a vegetarian, try adding clams, some clam broth and even a little bacon to the dish. They all contribute great flavour.

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