Craving the depth and heat of a Korean sundubu-jjigae (soft tofu stew) and the lightness of steamed clams in a simple butter broth? This recipe merges the two into a bright hybrid, bringing together a classic coastal dish with a hearty wintertime stew. It's perfect for the springtime transition into sunnier months.
5 lbs manila clams 2 eggs 2 teaspoon vegetable oil 2 tablespoons sunflower oil 8 cloves garlic, chopped 8 green onions, sliced (white and green parts separated) 4 Korean peppers, sliced into rings (sub jalapenos if you can't find Korean peppers, although they should be readily available at your local Asian grocery) ½ cup gochujang 2 teaspoon cracked black pepper 4 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari 10 shiitake mushrooms, sliced 8 cups vegetable broth 2 12 oz blocks soft tofu 2 12 oz can (or bottle) of light beer 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (a mix of both black and white, ideally) ¼ cup watercress sprouts ¼ cup chili threads (sub a few teaspoons, to taste, of red chili flakes)
While you prepare your broth, rinse the clams in a colander under cool running water. Run your fingers through them as you rinse them, and look for any broken shells or mud bombs. Once the outsides of the shells are clean, set them aside on the countertop. (Be sure to dig out the shellstock tag, because you don't want to steam that!)
Scramble eggs in a small bowl with a chopstick until they’re one consistent, bright yellow hue. In a nonstick pan, heat vegetable oil over medium-low heat. Pour eggs into the pan and lift and tip the pan from side to side until the eggs coat the pan’s entire surface and cook into a thin, paper-like layer. Cook the eggs until entirely cooked through from bottom to top and (about four minutes) and flip onto a cutting board to cool. Run a paring knife along the eggs sheet, creating thin, delicate egg ribbons and set aside.
In another large pot, heat sunflower oil over medium-heat and saute your garlic, white ends of scallions, and peppers until fragrant and pliable, about four minutes. Add your gochujang and soy sauce and stir to coat. Toss in your mushrooms and coat and cook for two minutes, stirring in your black pepper while the mushrooms wilt.
Pour vegetable broth over your aromatics and mushrooms and increase heat to medium-high. Let the broth reduce by ⅓, stirring consistently over the course of 20 minutes.
While your broth’s flavors mingle, break apart your blocks of tofu into fist-sized chunks and set them gently into the boiling stock. Pour beer into the stock and lightly stir, being mindful not to break apart the tofu entirely.
Drop clams into the pot and cover for four to six minutes while the alcohol cooks off and the clams all open.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with sprouts, sesame seeds, green onion tops, egg ribbons and chili threads. Serve with lime slices and white rice.