Korean food is a relatively recent find for me and from the very beginning it has been like love. Korean food like Indian food is served piping hot especially the jjigae. Soondubu Jjigae named after the special soft tofu that is used in this soup is a very popular Korean dish. However it is not a very vegetarian friendly dish. In the sense that even in the very diverse Korean street in NYC the vegetarian soondubu jjigae was nothing like the fiery cauldron that the regular jjigae.
This altered vegetarian version however is a big improvement and is delicious.
6 to 10 dried shitake mushrooms
2 smallish zucchinis
half a onion
2 to 3 cloves garlic
a packet of soon tofu
3 tbsp Korean chili powder
2 large chili pepper ( these are not the very spicy variety of pepper. For more about the chili peppers refer here.)
1 packet of beach mushrooms
1 tbsp mushroom sauce
1 green onion
salt to taste
The process starts with making stalk. Take 5 cups of water , add the dried shitake mushrooms, onion and garlic. Just peel the onion and garlic and add them to the water so it is easy to fish them out later. You could also add dried kelp. I avoid kelp since my husband is not a big fan of the flavor. Boil the mixture to make stalk. Filter the water and take out and reserve the dried shitake mushrooms.
In a large sauce pot, add 1 tsp oil. To this add the red chili powder. Slice the now boiled shitake mushrooms that you had reserved from the stalk making and add it to the pot. Let cook for a minute and then add the squash and the stalk. Add salt and mushroom sauce. Let the mixture boil for 5 minutes. You can also use any other vegetables that you may want. Add the beach mushrooms and the soon tofu. Let boil for 5 more minutes. Add sliced green chilies, green onion. Crack two eggs and add them a few minutes before serving and allow the egg to cook in the mixture. The eggs are optional and the jjigae taste very good without the eggs also.
Another optional thing is a little bit of sesame oil just before you turn off the flame.
Eat piping hot with rice and banchan.