cooking question: good enough substitute for anchovy stock in jjigae?
June 6, 2020 10:48 PM   Subscribe

A while back the New Yorker ran a little piece about soondubu jjigae with a recipe at the end. It's something I was going for like once a week before All This Happened. I have a lot of the ingredients, but then there's a subset of ingredients for the broth you cook it all in, an anchovy broth, and it is entirely ingredients I don't have (dried anchovies, daikon, scallions, kombu, bird's-eye chilis. OK I do have water.) Might I be able to substitute something else and have it be still pretty good? The recipe says "or water" but I'm wondering about a happy medium.
posted by less of course to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yup, Korean jjigaes are very flexible! You can use any kind of stock as a base if you don't want to use just water. Beef, fish, or vegetable stock would be my initial recommendations, but chicken would also be fine. Regardless, your soondubu will likely still be delicious.

Dried anchovies are great to have on hand. If you are able to obtain some in the future, you can make the simplest stock by boiling some dried anchovies in just water and/or some salt too (without all the other ingredients you listed). Dried anchovies last ages in an air tight container in the freezer.

Happy cooking!
posted by sums at 11:04 PM on June 6, 2020 [4 favorites]


Vegemite and chili sauce.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 11:26 PM on June 6, 2020 [1 favorite]


Soondooboo is usually seafood based but I love a pork variation that uses bits of pork belly. Personally for a base I would use a mix of pork stock and some spoons of gochujang (which is a very handy pantry staple to have anyway).
posted by like_neon at 1:56 AM on June 7, 2020 [1 favorite]


I have a roommate who is a friend to someone who co-owns a Korean restaurant here in NYC. If you let me know some ingredients you DO have, I'll check in with them about what might work.

In the meantime: it sounds like some of those ingredients are there to boost the umami, And fortunately there are some things in Mediterranean cooking that do the same thing - canned anchovies (which you may also not have), olives, or capers. So one of those plausibly be substituted for the dried anchovies; just a little. Or, vegetable or beef stock with a little bit of extra soy sauce could be another option.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:30 AM on June 7, 2020 [1 favorite]


I've totally done a sort of fusiony jjigae with a dashi stock instead of anchovy and it turned out pretty great, if a bit lighter than intended. Dashi at it's simplest is just bonito and kombu, and also you can use instant packets if you want to cheat (no judgment from me, especially in something like a stew where there are so many other flavors.)

You could also do something like a mushroom stock, with dried shiitake, which are a great sub for veggy versions of many liquids. You can use whatever kind of mushrooms you have, and mix in some fish sauce if you have it. Looking at the other ingredients the broth calls for, I'd add some kind of onion and perhaps a bit of cabbage to evoke the scallion and diakon. Kombu is hard to substitute for, maybe some soy sauce but the saltiness can be tricky to control. For the chili you can put any kind you have, even a pinch of Italian red pepper flakes as long as it doesn't have other herbs mixed in. I keep Korean red pepper flakes in the freezer so I would use a pinch of that instead.
posted by Mizu at 3:45 AM on June 7, 2020 [2 favorites]


I use Japanese dashi no moto too, because it's the most easily available seafood stock for me. It works fine for a lot of Korean dishes that start with anchovy stock, and you can boost the seafood yumminess with a little fish sauce (a very little) or using dried mushrooms in the stock. A dash of Maggi/Braggs/whatever glutamate seasoning you have around probably wouldn't hurt.

But really, you could just use a cube of Knorr's bouillon or whatever and it would still be fine. God knows I've done it. Assuming that you've got the other ingredients like gochujang and the dubu/tofu, it should all come out tasting nice. Of course, this is just coming from a non-Korean North American who used to eat at Korean restaurants all the time until moving to a no-Korean food country, so the substitutions should be taken with a grain of salt. On that note, be careful salting anything made with a bouillon cube, because yikes.
posted by wakannai at 3:57 AM on June 7, 2020 [1 favorite]


Oh, dashi! I am pretty sure I have instant dashi. I mean the truth is the Korean grocery is nearby and I could go get the other stuff; I think I'm mostly reluctant to spend much on something I'm not super confident about making, so the idea of it being mostly stuff I have around is very appealing. Thanks everyone.
posted by less of course at 7:25 AM on June 7, 2020


Fish sauce should work, and is really good to have on hand. For many types of Asian food, I find scallions pretty important. Fresh and/or dried chilies add a lot, specific types are nice, but substitution should be okay.
posted by theora55 at 8:58 AM on June 7, 2020


If you are fine with using instant dashi and you have a Korean grocery nearby, check if they have powdered seafood or anchovy stock. And you can combine with a korean powdered chili as well. It's a good starter if you don't want to commit to all the work of the anchovy stock, gathering chili, etc.

And if you truly want the soondubu fix at home with the least amount of work, you can also check out the BCD soon tofu kits.
posted by xtine at 10:52 AM on June 7, 2020


Ok, this is resolved enough that I'm hoping this is not a threadsit but part of what sparked this is I bought a BCD soon tofu kit and it says to use 5/8 cup of water and I was like "wtf, that won't even cover the tofu; I'm gonna try making my own." (Incidentally I have anchovies in oil, just not dried ones. I guess I could oven dry them but that's getting a bit baroque.)
posted by less of course at 2:35 PM on June 7, 2020


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