Korean-inspired tofu kimchi soup is a flavor-packed, spicy-sour dish for cold winter nights. Made in one pot – ready in under 45 minutes.
Ever find yourself standing at the kitchen counter, eating kimchi straight from the jar, relishing in its spicy-sour funk and delightful crunch while thinking, “God, if this is wrong, I don’t wanna be right”? If yes, this tofu kimchi soup is for you.
This Korean-inspired hot-and-sour soup/stew is the ultimate winter soul-warmer for us kimchi lovers. It calls for an entire jar of kimchi (!) – plus all of its yummy juice – along with shiitake mushrooms, garlic, ginger, scallions, daikon radish, and silky cubes of tofu. It is, in my opinion, the best way to experience the unique flavor of kimchi as an entire meal.
What’s In This Tofu Kimchi Soup
This vegan soup starts with a base of sauteed shiitake mushrooms, which give the broth a savory, “meaty” foundational flavor. Lots of minced garlic, ginger, and scallions go in next, followed by gochujang (a Korean fermented chili paste available almost everywhere these days) and soy sauce. Sliced daikon (substitution ideas below) and kimchi make up the body of the soup, and soft tofu is stirred in at the very end.
This dish is based on sundubu-jjigae, a classic Korean stew (“jigae”) made of kimchi and soft tofu (“sundubu” or “soondubu”). To give credit where it’s due, my version is adapted from Bon Appetit and Alison Roman/Susan Kim, and is not necessarily traditional.
Tofu Kimchi Soup Step-by-Step
Brown the Mushrooms: To start, heat some neutral-flavored oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot (like a Dutch oven) and saute the mushrooms until browned.
Make the Base: To the mushrooms, add chopped garlic, ginger, and scallions, and cook for a minute or two. Then stir in the gochujang and cook for another minute, until it’s lightly toasted. Then add soy sauce and a splash of water, and deglaze the pot (i.e. scrape the bottom to lift off the stuck-on browned bits – they add a ton of flavor!)
Simmer the Soup: Next, add daikon (substitution ideas below), kimchi with its juice, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently for 15 minutes. This step softens the daikon and allows the flavors to meld together.
Add the Tofu: Finally, add your cubed tofu and continue cooking for 5 minutes to warm it through.
Ingredient Notes + Substitutions
- Shiitake Mushrooms: Their “meaty” flavor adds a savory note to the vegetarian stew. You can sub with another flavorful variety (like oyster mushrooms), but I don’t recommend cremini or white mushrooms here.
- Gochujang: This fermented chili paste is a staple of Korean cooking. It adds heat, but also a hint of sweetness and funk. It’s available in most supermarkets today (in the Asian or international aisles) and online. If you wanna get by without gochujang, sub with Sriracha or harissa.
- Daikon Radish: Unlike the spicy pink-skinned radishes we commonly see in US supermarkets, daikon is mild-tasting, greenish-white, and closer in size to a large zucchini. You can find daikon in southeast Asian markets and increasingly more in typical supermarkets. If you can’t find daikon, use shredded green cabbage or a sliced turnip here.
- Kimchi: Tofu kimchi stew is a great way to use up “ripe” kimchi – i.e. one that’s on the older, funkier, less crunchy side.
- Tofu: The silky texture of soft tofu works best here but if you can’t find it, firm tofu will suffice.
More winter favorites…
- Massaman Vegetable Curry
- Brown Rice Congee
- Vegan Pea Soup with Garlicky Croutons
- Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Spinach and Farro
Let me know if you try this recipe! Give it a rating below and leave a comment, and don’t forget to tag your creation with #TheNewBaguette and @thenewbaguette on Instagram.Print
Tofu Kimchi Soup
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Soup
- Cuisine: Korean
- Diet: Vegan
Korean-inspired tofu kimchi stew is a flavor-packed, spicy-sour dish for cold winter nights. Made in one pot – ready in under 45 minutes.
- 2 tablespoons avocado, refined coconut, or organic canola oil
- 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and cut into chunky slices
- 3 medium scallions
- 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1-inch knob ginger, peeled and minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon (or to taste) gochujang*(see note below)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or more to taste)
- 4 cups water
- 1 small daikon, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick halfmoons (about 2 cups)*
- 1/4 cup kimchi juice + 2 cups roughly chopped kimchi (one 16-ounce jar)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- One 14-ounce block soft tofu, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- Sesame seeds, for serving
- Rice, for serving (optional)
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the mushrooms with a pinch of salt and cook until lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, separate the white and light green parts of the scallions from the dark green parts. Chop the white and light green parts; set dark green parts aside.
- Add the chopped scallions to the pot, along with 4 minced garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon minced ginger. Cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Stir the gochujang into the pot (start with 1 tablespoon for mild and up to several tablespoons if you like intense heat) and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Then add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and a splash of water, and stir to deglaze the bottom of the pot (i.e. pick up the browned stuck-on bits).
- Add 4 cups water, along with the chopped daikon, kimchi, kimchi juice, and 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
- Add the tofu to the pot and simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Meanwhile, thinly slice the remaining scallions on a diagonal.
- Turn the heat off and season to taste with more soy sauce if needed. Serve the stew garnished with scallions and sesame seeds, alongside rice.
- The amount of gochujang you need may depend on how spicy it is, as well how spicy the kimchi is. For a milder stew, start with 1 tablespoon, working up to 2-3 tablespoons for more heat. (If you wanna get by without gochujang, sub with Sriracha or harissa.)
- If you can’t find daikon, use shredded green cabbage or a sliced turnip here.
- Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe (w/o rice)
- Calories: 220
- Fat: 9.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 33 g
- Protein: 5.1 g
Keywords: tofu, kimchi, stew, korean, vegan
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