When the weather gets chilly, and it usually does when it rains in Vancouver, I like to make soups to warm us up. Soups that can be a meal on its own are best and this Korean Kimchi Tofu Soup with Beef definite fits the bill. The spiciness from the kimchi and chili pepper flakes are great for cooler days. Plus, this soup can be easily customized to your taste. Want more vegetables? Add carrots, spinach or napa cabbage. Want to make it vegetarian? Switch out the chicken stock with veggie stock and skip the beef. Since this soup takes less than 30 minutes to make, it is perfect for a quick weekday dinner.
Making Kimchi Tofu Soup (Kimchi Soondubu Jjigae)
The most basic ingredients you need for the soup are garlic, kimchi, soft tofu, chili pepper flakes and stock. You can find all the ingredients for Kimchi Tofu Soup at most Asian supermarkets. For the tofu, I prefer to buy the soft/fresh tofu from the Korean grocery store because they are really soft. The fresh tofu will give you the most authentic texture but if you can’t find them, you can use silken tofu instead. Be sure to get the regular silken tofu and not the one with eggs in it.
If you are making this soup with beef, the easiest is to buy the pre-sliced beef for hot pot or shabu shabu. Besides beef, you can substitute chicken breast or sliced pork. Or omit meat protein and go for more vegetables!
What about the Egg?
Most Kimchi Tofu Soup usually comes with a raw egg which you will crack into the soup at the table. I omitted the egg because I don’t serve my soup in a Korean earthenware pot that keeps the soup boiling hot when it’s served. If you have one then feel free to add an egg to the soup.
Note: Recipe adapted from Korean Bapsang
Here's my adaption of the Kimchi Soondubu Jjigae, Korean Kimchi Tofu Soup. Serve this with rice or add rice cake into the soup to make it into a meal.
- 2 pkg silken tofu
- 200g sliced beef I use the one for shabu shabu
- 1 cup kimchi, chopped into smaller pieces
- 1.5 tsp red chili pepper flakes or gochugaru more if you want it spicier
- 3 tsp minced garlic
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 2.5 cups unsalted chicken broth can also use anchovy broth, dashi or water
- 1 scallion, finely sliced for garnish, optional
- kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
In a pot over medium heat, add beef, kimchi, garlic, red chili pepper flakes and sesame oil. Stir-fry until beef is almost cooked and kimchi has softened, about 3-5 minutes.
Add the broth and bring it to boil. Let the soup boil for about 5 minutes while skimming off the scum.
Add in the silken tofu in big chunks. I just cut the tube-shaped package in half and squeeze the tofu into the pot. Let it cook for another 3-4 minutes or until tofu is warmed through. Add kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
Just before serving, sprinkle the chopped scallion on top of the soup (if using).