Serves: 2Total time: 20 minutes[ratings]

Dirty Gourmet is three women—Aimee Trudeau, Emily Nielson, and Mai-Yan Kwan—who came together after a bike tour across Canada. They put together a big variety of camp meals, many of which can be found in their cookbook of the same name, with lots of different cultural and taste influences. This recipe, from Mai-yan, for a healthy Korean tofu stew, is easy to make, and perfect for a cold night under the stars. Sourcing for a couple of the ingredients that may not be available in every grocery store is available at the bottom of the page.

I discovered Korean food when I first moved to Los Angeles and instantly fell in love with it. One of my favorite dishes is sundubu-jjigae which is what this Korean Soft Tofu stew is based on. Typically, the dish arrives at the table in an individual-sized stone pot filled with furiously bubbling stew. It is served with rice, also made in a stone pot, which yields deliciously crispy rice at the bottom.

I hadn’t thought to make this while backpacking in the past—too many perishables, specialty ingredients, too heavy. But when a Sprouts Farmers Market grocery store opened in my neighborhood recently, I noticed they stocked shelf-stable tofu in Tetrapaks. After some experimentation, here it is!

Full disclosure, there still are some specialty ingredients required for this dish, and the tofu box weighs 12 ounces which will make some of you gasp. On the plus side, it’s ready in 10 minutes and one of the most satisfying and warming dishes I know of for a cold night out. I made this on an overnight trek to Mount Whitney and it was worth every ounce of weight.


1 1/2 tablespoons Korean chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons dehydrated cabbage
2 tablespoons sliced dried shiitake mushrooms
1/2 tablespoon dried chives
2 cups water
11.5 ounces Silken Tofu (in TetraBox)


At Home:

• Crumble or cut bouillon cube into small pieces.
• Combine all ingredients but water and tofu in a zip top bag. Write how much water needs to be added with a permanent marker directly on the bag.

At Camp:

• Carefully open tofu box and drain any liquid into your pot. Cut tofu into large cubes and set aside.
• Add two cups of water to the pot along with the contents of the zip top bag and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and stir making sure bouillon cube is totally dissolved.
• Add tofu cubes and let simmer for another 5 minutes to heat through.

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