It’s March. The freezer is empty, other than a few vac-sealed packs of tuna, so it’s definitely time to get back on the water. Even if it’s just tracking down some sculpin for a new recipe, it’s time. I’d honestly take a bonito bite right about now, but it’s windy and rainy and things need to lay down a bit, at least as I type this.
Right now is the time where folks support the local fish mongers the most… when they have access to top notch seafood, and we have nothing but slim pickings. It’s also the time when weather keeps us off the water, the time that we’re in the middle of cleaning up our gear for the upcoming season, and the time when we’re just trying to save some money to fund next year’s fishing expeditions.
Of course, it’s possible to catch fish year ‘round, it’s just not as abundant with the species of choice. What a privilege to get quality ingredients with one fish monger visit, and then right back home to make some more cold-weather meals for family and friends. This week – more spicy soup! I’ll come clean and admit that I have a cold… so while the original plan was an old school white clam chowder, I’m taking the healthy but tasty approach via my germ-crushing version of Dubu Jjigae.
Next Recipe: Classic Pan-Fried Sole
Sundubu Jjigae is a very popular Korean soup that you’ll often see if you go out for Korean BBQ. Along with the shrimp, clams and other delicious ingredients, the other key is tofu. The traditional Sundubu Jjigae uses a very soft, silken tofu, which is the “Sundubu.” While I do love it, sometimes I prefer a texture that pushes back a bit more, so I use a firmer tofu – hence just the “Dubu Jjigae.” Between my time living on Oahu and now having close friends here in California that are Korean, I’ve been exposed to some unbelievable ingredients and recipes to broaden the cooking horizon, so please do the same (along with as many other countries/cultures as possible). Without a doubt, that will continue to be my goal writing stories and recipes for BD Outdoors and, while I promise to throw in plenty of American classics, it’ll be a constant push against the culinary norm in your kitchen. Lastly, like I said, if you’re sick… this is the ticket. It’s spicy and warming to the entire body, but also plenty filling to, as they say, “Feed the flu.”
Recipe: Dubu Jjigae My Way
- Quantity depends on your group size, but in this case, I deveined and cleaned about two dozen shrimp. I hit the jackpot with three different types of clams, so I got a couple dozen total, scrubbed them and put them in cold water to purge for an hour or so.
- Additional Ingredients:
- 2 packs of firm tofu, but feel 100% free to use soft/silken tofu (often sold in tube form) for classic Sundubu Jjigae
- 3 bunches of assorted mushrooms, such as enoki, shiitake, and hamakua
- ½ white daikon - peeled and cut into half-moons about ¼” thick
- Large eggs - enough for one per person
- ½ bag of rice cake (about a dozen) - FYI they look like white Tootsie Rolls
- Soup Base:
- 12 cups water (more or less depending on group size)
- 1 mesh bag of spicy blend of dried kelp and anchovy for stock
- Soup Base Additions:
- 2 TBS of neutral oil (avoid EVOO)
- 2 long green onions - sliced
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- 3 TBSP Gochugaru (Korean hot pepper seasoning) more for extra spice
- 1.5 TBSP Gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
- 1-2 TBSP miso paste
- 1-2 TBSP soy sauce
- 1 TBSP fish sauce
- Kosher sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste
- Steamed rice for the base of the bowl to soak it all up
- 2 additional stalks long green onion – sliced on the bias for presentation
- Sprinkle of sesame seeds
- Dash of B & O sesame oil
- After prepping all ingredients, steaming your rice, and organizing your station, heat your pot over medium heat, adding the oil, green onion, garlic, and gochugaru and sauteing for about a minute to incorporate.
- Lower the heat to low and mix in the soy sauce, fish sauce, miso paste, and gochujang until everything is blended together. It will actually resemble a dark red paste.
- Next, slowly combine the water to the paste, so it blends together vs. clump. Once it’s all combined and at a simmer, add the mesh bag blend of dried kelp, anchovy and spices to create the stock. FYI – you can make the stock beforehand to control its strength and pungency.
- Once the seasoning and amount of spice is on point, add the rice cakes first, as they do take a while. Always put whatever takes the longest amount of time first and finish with whatever takes the least. In order, it will be the rice cakes, the daikon, the tofu (cut into ½ inch cubes), the mushrooms, the eggs, the clams and lastly the shrimp.
- A tip for the prior step, when you crack the eggs, drop them into the soup carefully so they don’t break apart. You want them to cook in the broth just like a poached egg. That way when you serve them, the yolk can blend into the bowl of soup for extra richness for each individual.
- Put a layer of steamed rice on the bottom of each bowl and ladle the soup into each one, making sure each guest gets an egg.
- Serve with fresh green onions, a dash of sesame oil, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and a little cracked pepper and finishing salt if needed.
- Remember you can always add, but you can’t take out. Taste as you go!