I have a great love of Korean food as my Mother loved it and it was one of the few kinds of foods that we went out to restaurants to eat. Besides all the amazing grilled meats, one of my favorite dishes is an extremely comforting Tofu and Beef Soup called "Soon Du Bu Jigae." It's often called a stew, but I like to make mine with more broth. I recently had some dental work done and it was the only thing I wanted after spending all that time in a dentist's chair. And all I wanted to eat was something soft and Tofu was it. It can be made ahead and gently reheated. This wonderful soup and was exactly what I needed and it was so delicious and felt especially good for a cold rainy evening!
Korean Tofu and Beef Soup
8 ounces beef steak, sliced thin, marinated in 2 teaspoons Korean Soy Sauce, 2 teaspoons 1 teaspoon Sesame Oil, ½ teaspoon Sugar
1 Tablespoon Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
4 – 5 Green Onions, cut into small pieces, white and green parts separated
1 Tablespoon Korean Chili Powder
4 cups Beef Broth (preferably homemade – if using canned broth or bouillon, dilute with in half with water)
1 heaping Tablespoon Doenjang (Korean Soy Bean Paste) or Red Miso
1 Tablespoon Korean Soy Sauce or Tamari
2 Packages Soft Tofu (16 oz), drained and cut into 2 inch cubes
1 cup Napa Cabbage cut into bite sized pieces (or the same amount of Spinach, 1 Zucchini sliced thin or 1 cup of Daikon Radish, cut in half and sliced thin)
1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
Optional: 1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds
Heat 1 Tablespoon of Oil in a high-sided large frying pan or pot. Add in the Garlic Onions drained Marinated Beef until no longer pink and add in the Korean Chili Powder, stirring to combine. Then add in the Beef Broth, Donjang and Korean Soy Sauce. Bring to a boil and reduce heat and add in the Soft Tofu and Napa Cabbage (or other vegetables if using). Cook for 5 – 10 minutes. Drizzle with the Sesame Oil and sprinkle with the reserved Green Onion tops before serving.
Five Element Analysis
As a soup, it automatically has some of the Water Element present and the Doenjang, Korean Soy Sauce and Sesame Oil add even more. The Napa Cabbage being so leafy contributes the Wood and Earth Elements. And, more Earth is brought in because of the Beef. The Tofu, Garlic and Green Onions make sure that the Metal Element is present and the Fire Element shows up in the Korean Chili Powder. This then is a balanced one pot meal!