Kimchi Soup
courtesy of Taekwonweirdo on Flickr
courtesy of Taekwonweirdo on Flickr

Want to make the easiest soup you have ever made in your life? Ease is not the best recipe adjective when delicious would do just as well, but BELIEVE ME. You will be stunned by the ease of this. It is also a great way to get hesitant kimchi eaters to explore this condiment because the cabbage loses its color and some of its flavors to the soup broth. It is usually made with pork or seafood, but I have substituted tofu here. If you are looking for a meat-based recipe, try Maangchi's version.

The resulting soup is spicy and comforting, the perfect thing to eat when the weather is cold or you feel sniffly. And because it's so easy to make, you can cook it even when you are feeling ill.

Vegetarian Kimchi Jigae


  • 1 container of kimchi (Korean pickled cabbage), purchased at a Korean market or specialty foods store
  • 1 package of very soft tofu, preferably the tofu purchased in a "tube" at a Korean market
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1 tsp dark sesame oil
  • Optional: hot pepper powder or a hot pepper


  • Cut up as much kimchi as you want to use, but at least 3 cups. There should be a significant dent in your kimchi container when you are finished. If the kimchi is already sufficiently cut up, you can just empty it directly into the pot. Pour in some kimchi juice as well.
  • Add enough water to cover the kimchi. The kimchi should monopolize the show.
  • Bring the water to a boil, then simmer.
  • Meanwhile, chop the tofu into squares. If your tofu isn't soft enough, you can also "smush" it into asymmetrical hunks.
  • Cook for 30 minutes.
  • Add scallions and sesame oil. Depending on your tastes and the kimchi you are using, you might consider adding a splash of rice vinegar. Since the dish is usually made with tangier kimchi that has been sitting around for longer, the soup should taste slightly sour.

Serve with a bowl of Korean or sushi rice on the side.

The result should be a spicy red soup packed with flavor. Thanks, kimchi, for making cooking so easy!





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