Kimchi Soup with Tofu

MAKES: 4 servings

TIME: 25 minutes

If you’re the type of person who gets wildly overambitious at Asian markets, loading up your cart with more kimchi, Korean chile paste, and miso than the average Korean family goes through in a month, this simple, delicious soup will help you use up what you’ve bought, and it’s quick enough to make for lunch. It’s even better if you start with homemade cabbage Kimchi.

Feel free to add a tablespoon of miso instead of the soy or to toss a handful of bean sprouts into the soup just before serving.

3 tablespoons dark sesame oil

6 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths

11/2 cups cabbage kimchi, either homemade or prepared, roughly chopped

8 ounces silken tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 tablespoon go chu jang (Korean red pepper paste)

6 cups water or vegetable stock

1 tablespoon rice vinegar or other mild vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce, or more to taste

1/2 cup short-grain white rice

Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Put 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil in a large, deep skillet or medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the scallions and cook, stirring, for about a minute. Add the kimchi, tofu, and red pepper paste and cook, stirring, for just a few seconds more. Add the water, vinegar, and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Then adjust the heat so the mixture simmers steadily. (You can prepare the recipe in advance up to this point; cover and let sit at room temperature for an hour or two or refrigerate overnight before proceeding.)
  2. Add the rice, stir, and once again adjust the heat so the mixture simmers. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary, adding more soy if necessary along with some black pepper and the remaining sesame oil. Serve at once.