Korean Tofu Soup

I went a bit nuts at the Asian markets this week. Truth be told, I hadn’t been to an Asian market in about two years (or more!) since I moved away from the Korean section of Atlanta (i.e. waaaay out in the suburbs, and I only lived there for one summer at my mom’s temporary condo). The thing I loved about this part of town was the Super H, the excellent pho, and all the bubble tea I could want.

This week, after buying a car last Saturday (I’ve been car-free for the past 3 years) so I could work my summer job and then move to Roanoke which isn’t not a car-free-friendly town, I had to drive up to the aforementioned suburbs to register the car and buy a license plate (I’m getting a Share the Road one at least!). Since I was in the ‘hood, I swung over to Super H. $50 in noodles, mushrooms, tofu products (bean curd twists hurrah!), and soup bowls, I left in a hurry. Renae, I didn’t find any vegetarian fish sauce there. Sad hat. Since I hadn’t been able to find the vegetarian fish sauce, I stopped at the Asian Farmers Market right by the highway entrance. Score! The place was nuts–half Hispanic food, half Asian–but I found the vegetarian fish sauce (yay!) and a can of veggie abalone and veggie duck. In cans! So weird and so cool! The poet says he isn’t going to eat the canned “meats,” but what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. And its only gluten. So really, what could be so horrible?

As soon as I got home I was really hungry, something about driving around all afternoon and buying tons of food, so I decided to whip up some Korean tofu soup. I first had this soup a few months ago in the same part of town and it was amazing. So hot and spicy-hot and mushroomy and tofu-y and sizzling rice-y…mmm. Due to the language barrier, I’m afraid it may have been made with beef stock…but I’m going to ignore that as much as I can. It was the only all vegetable soup on the menu (at a tofu house–so misleading!), so if it was beef stocked, well, the waitress didn’t speak English so I’ll give myself a break.

My version, while not authentic (I still need some real-deal Korean clay pots to cook with so I can do the sizzling rice thing), is uber tasty. I ended up adding more pepper paste than the recipe calls for because I like my food really hot, but that’s definitely something each individual should play with. I also didn’t add any extra mushrooms than the string mushrooms, but that could be a tasty addition. How authentic is the soup? I’ve no idea. But it was perfect for the absolutely random April snow we had (yes, April snow in Atlanta, Georgia!).

Korean Tofu Soup

1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp Korean pepper paste (I used 2 tbsp)
4 cups vegetable stock or veggie “beef” stock
1 cup kimchee (or sauerkraut, if you don’t have kimchee around)
1 tbsp soy sauce/Bragg’s
4 cups soft tofu, sliced into 1″ squares
2-3 baby bok choy
1 package string mushrooms
3 scallions, chopped
Sesame oil
Cooked rice

Sauté the garlic in the oil for 1-2 minutes. Add the stock, kimchee, soy sauce, and pepper paste. Stir everything to combine. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Gently stir in the tofu. Add more soy sauce or pepper paste to taste. Simmer 5 more minutes.

Add the baby bok choy and string mushrooms. Simmer 1-2 minutes.

Place one serving of rice in each bowl. Ladle soup on top. Sprinkle spring onions and a couple dashes of sesame oil on top.

Serve!

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Comments
21 Responses to “Korean Tofu Soup”
  1. VeggieGirl says:

    “And its only gluten. So really, what could be so horrible?”

    I’m gluten-free… trust me, that stuff is DEADLY, haha 😉

    Hooray for Asian cusine!!

  2. Jodye says:

    This looks perfect for a random April snow (so weird!), but really, nice finds at the asian market, I should find one of those around me sometime

  3. Amanda says:

    Nice! Vegetarian fish sauce? Does it tasty..fishy? Interesting!

  4. BitterSweet says:

    It’s been so long since I’ve been able to get to a -real- asian market…! If only there were more in the area. And seriously, does that soup look amazing.

  5. lazysmurf says:

    I got the exact same vegan duck in a can the last time I went to the big Asian market. I still haven’t been brave enough to try it, INSPIRE ME!

  6. jessy says:

    SCORE on all the awesomeness from the asian market! wahoooooo! i limit myself to visiting ours to about 4 times a year because every time i visit i go bananas and buy sooooo much stuff! ahahhhaaa! that’s awesome!

    totally gonna have to try your korean tofu soup. it looks most glorious! i haven’t been to the asian market in about 3 months and i think it’s about time i get my butt over there! yay!

    (i had no idea they made vegetarian fish sauce. i’m gonna have to see if i can find some, too!)

  7. Becka Knight says:

    I just LOOOOVVVEEEE soup. And the Asian market. Thanks for sharing this one girl!

  8. abracapocus says:

    it’s about time for me to make a stock up trip up buford highway myself. seriously, $0.69 for a pound of rice noodles. the funny telephone packet of agar powder. and the gluten in a can is nice to have in the pantry for quickie meals. i’ve even used the curry one in a gluten salad for sammiches.

  9. renae says:

    That’s quite a haul! I’m so glad you found some of the elusive vegetarian fish sauce. I can’t wait to see what you do with all this stuff! The tofu soup looks amazing.

  10. mihl says:

    I would go crazy at an Asian market, too! It never occured to me that I could use sauerkraut instead of kimchee. Great idea. And the soup looks fantastic.

  11. liz says:

    nice haul!! asian market shopping is the best! (I don’t know how you held out so long). I DO warn you on the gluten, I’ve had awful experience with the canned stuff, but at the very least your soup looks amazing. Enoki and kimchee are both magic!

  12. Steffi says:

    yum! how do you survive for 2 years without an Asian grocery store?! tofu knots totally rule!

  13. Asian market fun! Your soup is gorgeous and it looks so warming and comforting. I love the soup bowl too!

    That sucks about the possible beef stock in the soup thing, but at least now you can make your own beef free version!

    Enjoy your new car! 🙂

  14. This soup looks so good. And I love that it has kimchee. I am tackling that as my next fermenting adventure. What is in the pepper paste?

  15. shellyfish says:

    Wish I had me one of those markets near by! I miss the Asian market I used to live by in paris…just a train ride away, but I only go over there if I’m in the city.
    That being said, your soup looks great – just what I need right now with my sickies – but 4 cups of tofu? That seems like a lot I’m thinking maybe 2?

  16. tanita says:

    Yum. It’s always so fun to go, isn’t it? And educational! Our Filipino market had really cool tapioca desserts. Yum.

    Have to ask about the bean curd twists… if you’ve posted a recipe before, can you point me in that direction? Thanks!

  17. DaviMack says:

    Sounds awesome! And … how can you not go crazy at the Asian market? It’s such a wonderful place, it’s worth the hour’s worth of travel to get there & back (2 buses, plus waiting & walking).

  18. i love asian markets and that soup looks yummy!

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