My wife is, once again, recovering from surgery and she was wanting soon dubu, or silky tofu soup. I didn’t think it would travel, and  offered to make some for her. She was skeptical. She had us buy pork chops at the same time. Well, pork chops are for another day, because the soon dubu experiment was a success and it wasn’t hard either.

Start with a heated ceramic bowl. Add oil, and sear your meats in the oil.

Add veggies and brown. Add soon dubu paste, do not burn. Later, add broth, taste, adjust flavors, and let it reach a boil. After a few minutes, add tofu, meats, seafood.

The cooking is done in a ceramic bowl. Those bowls can be had at Super H Mart; ours cost us about 10 dollars or so. You heat the bowl, and when it is hot,add some oil to your pot and add your meats. We had leftover meats, a sous-vide flat iron steak, and some baked chicken breast. We seared briefly, removed the meats, added veggies (chopped bok choy, some onion, some bamboo shoots) and cooked until browned. We added hot pepper paste (a commercial variety), heated and mixed until thoroughly worked through the veggies, then added beef stock. We then adjusted for taste. The original recipe (here) called for soy sauce, which added considerably to the flavor. We added some garlic powder, some salt, but 2-3 pinches of dried coarse hot pepper powder finally turned the trick. In retrospect, it is better to make your own soon dubu paste from hot pepper powder itself. The flavor will be significantly richer.

After simmering a minute or two, finish with an egg and add scallions.

While all that was going on, we had also purchased cooked frozen crawfish as our seafood component. We split the crawfish into two batches, one of which went into the freezer, the other sealed in a pint Food Saver bag and popped into a 130 degree pot to thaw.

Silky tofu is labelled soft tofu at Super H, and if I recall, 30 ounces of soft tofu runs about a dollar. Since you’re using leftover meats, whatever stock is handy (32 ounces of stock at Publix runs about a dollar as well), whatever veggies you can find, some spices, this whole meal is incredibly affordable.

Once the soup boils, you add back your meats and your seafood. The crawfish were nicely warm by the time we needed them. If there are any juices that the crawfish leave in a Food Saver bag, just pour them into the soup as well. After a minute or two with meats and seafood, you can add an egg if you like, and definitely add some chopped green onions.

Jimmy, of Eat It Atlanta, has a nice video of making soon dubu.

John Kessler has a video of an egg cooking in soon dubu.

Serious Eats has the recipe we mostly followed for our soups.

The “Food and I” blog has a good looking vegetarian soon dubu.

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