Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Vegan Korean Mushrooms and Tofu Stew

Vegan Korean Mushrooms and Tofu Stew (with Kabocha Squash)
I am blogging about a Korean dish again!  There is a story behind this dish.  A few years ago, Jay andJulie Hasson took me to a Korean restaurant in Beaverton, OR.  I forgot the name of that little restaurant.  There was only 1 vegan item they can serve us which is a spicy tofu stew/hot pot.  We ate it with rice and I remember that it was red but it was not that spicy.  It was so delicious that it stuck in my mind.

So when recently, I discovered Vegan 8 Korean blog, I perused the recipes that Sunnie blogged and this stew looks like that one I ate at the Korean restaurant years ago.  The Korean name of this dish is hard to pronounce:  Dubu-Busut Jeongol (Vegan 8 Korean recipe).  I did more research and found out that Jeongol means 'stew' or 'hot pot' that can be cooked on top of a butane stove on the dining table in a family gathering.  There are all kinds of Jeongol so the ingredients are interchangeable.  Dubu means tofu and busut is mushroom.
As Sunnie was saying in her blog, it looks red but it is not very spicy so don't be afraid!  That reminds me of what I ate in that Korean restaurant years ago.  It was not that spicy, it was red, but it was flavorful.  When I first tried this recipe, I used King Oyster Mushroom  which started to pop up in Asian markets around my house.  Apparently, DH didn't really like this kind of mushrooms since it is chewy.  I decided to change the ingredients by using the fresh softer oyster mushrooms, golden (brown) enoki mushrooms, and shitake mushrooms.  I also didn't have soy bean sprouts but had some fresh spinach leaves.  DH said that he liked it better the 2nd time I made it with these ingredients.  One thing for sure about this dish is that it is EASY and FAST to make.  It is also HEALTHY.

I also learned using Perilla Oil in cooking this stew.  It is apparently rich of omega-3 fatty acid and alpha-linolic acid (ALA).  So I am excited of using this oil in my Korean dish (Perila oil can be found in Korean market).  You can always use sesame oil if you can't find perilla oil.

Below is a version of my Korean Jeongol.  I used more kelp powder since I like the 'seafoody' flavor.  You are welcome to reduce the amount.

Vegan Korean Mushrooms and Tofu Stew/Hot Pot
Serve 6-8

1 pkg. or 14.5 oz firm tofu, sliced
1 1/2 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 pkg. or 8 oz fresh enoki mushroom, torn up to pieces
2 large onion, sliced
1 cup packed fresh baby spinach
2 scallions, chopped
3 cups of vegetable broth (I use mushroom seasoning broth or vegan chiknish), 1 cup more if using the optional Kabocha Squash
salt, if needed and if the veg broth is not salty enough.
Optional: 1 to 1 1/2 slices of Kabocha Squash, seeded and peeled

1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tsp. kelp powder
2 Tbsp. Korean Chili Pepper or Gochugaru (can be reduced to 1 Tbsp to reduce spicyness)
3/4 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. minced garlic

2 Tbsp. Perrilla oil (or sesame oil if you can't find perrilla)

  1. Put sliced tofu on the bottom of the hot pot or heavy cast iron pot (as pictured above)
    Add onions over tofu then add all of the mushrooms over the onions.
    Stir frying seasoning until fragrant.
    In a heavy wok on a medium heat, add perilla oil, then kelp powder, soy sauce, Korean pepper powder, sugar and garlic (all seasonings ingredients).  Stir fry for 10 minutes.  Yes, really that long while stirring it to avoid sticking.  According to Sunnie this will break down the powder and make the seasoning smooth in the broth.  After a few minutes, you'll notice that it creates a savory fragrant.
  4. Add the combined seasonings and vegetable broth into the pot of tofu, onions, and mushrooms.  I only used 3 cups broth(or 4 cups if using Kabocha Squash) and it looks like that it is too little and it is barely there but actually after simmering all the mushrooms will shrink.  Cover and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. 
  5. If using Kabocha squash slices, put them in after 10 minutes of simmering. At the end of 20 minutes, add baby spinach and simmer for another 1-2 minutes. Taste and add salt as needed.  When serving, add chopped scallions on top. 

Serve this stew with my perfect brown rice and vegan furikake.  It's a great comfort stew in a cool Fall or Winter day!


Julie Hasson said...

Debbie, this looks amazing! I have tried to make that yummy stew before, but it just didn't taste the same. Thanks for posting this recipe! I will give it a try soon. Shoot, we should have taken you there again when you were up last. Next time for sure!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

This looks soooo good, Debbie!

spiceislandvegan said...

Thanks Julie and Bryanna! I wish we live so close to each other.

JamesL said...

I customized this recipe a bit due to laziness and it was excellent! Rivals the Korean tofu house in town.

Thanks for the recipe!

spiceislandvegan said...

Thanks JamesL! I customized recipes all the time, no problem!

Anonymous said...

very goooooood))))

spiceislandvegan said...

Thanks! I just made this stew. I added kabocha squash slices after the stew was cooking for 10 minutes. It was a great addition!

Rosa said...

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