Before you say anything, we admit it: this may not be the most traditional kimchi soup recipe you’ve ever encountered. For starters, the requisite pork belly is – for obvious reasons – absent (but not missed) in our version. We’ve also added miso paste to give the broth some extra body. Any way you slice it, this soup is a hearty meal unto itself and guaranteed to please adventurous palates.
Kimchi (fermented cabbage) is a true treat of Korean cuisine, loaded with nutrients and excellent in a variety of dishes. You can find bottled kimchi in a well-stocked Asian grocery, or if you’re feeling ambitious you can make your own – it takes a bit of time but is well worth it and the kimchi will keep, refrigerated, for a few months.
What you’ll need
– 1 T. fresh ginger, grated
– 2 T. red miso paste
– 3 T. Korean chili paste
– 4 T. soy sauce
– 6 cloves garlic, minced
– 3/4 t. black pepper, ground
– 1 onion, sliced
– 2 green onions, sliced
– 4 c. broth + 4 c. water
– 1/2 block of firm tofu, sliced.
– 1 T. vegetable oil for frying
– 2 c. kimchi (we make our own, but you can find kimchi at a well-stocked Asian grocer)
– 1 c. mushrooms, sliced
– 1 small package udon (about 1/2 lb., or one cup packed)
– 2-4 crushed Korean chilis (optional: add based on your tolerance for heat. Four will make for a blazing-hot soup!)
In a large skillet, heat 1 T. vegetable oil over medium heat. Add kimchi (being sure to drain any excess liquid beforehand) and fry until softened (about 5 minutes). Set aside. Depending on your preference, you may also wish to fry the tofu before adding to the soup.
In a small bowl, mix together soup base seasonings with 1 c. of water until well-incorporated. In a large stockpot, add the soup base, along with 4 c. broth and remaining 3 c. water. Add tofu and vegetables – onion, garlic, green onion, mushrooms, and kimchi – and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Next, add the udon noodles and simmer for an additional 5 minutes until noodles are cooked and ready to eat. Remove soup from heat.
Serve hot and top with garnish of green onion and crushed chilis. A bowl of steamed rice makes a great addition, and a nice way to cool down between spoonfuls of soup.