Here’s another soy recipe using soy in its traditional, minimally-processed form. Fermented soy products are healthiest of all. Even though tofu is not fermented, Korean cuisine includes plenty of other fermented foods, including kimchi. I’m guessing this is just another example of the natural, wise balance of many traditional cuisines.
This recipe isn’t perfectly authentic as it mixes a Japanese technique with a Korean dish, but it’s not that far off the mark, either. It’s easy to put together and the ingredients are reasonably easy to find. Great for a cold night – or a night with a cold! The Korean red pepper is a ground spice that can be found in any Korean grocery store. Ask for the type used to make kimchi.
This dish is not vegetarian as its base is dashi broth made with bonito flakes. Eaters should also know that many varieties of kimchi include dried or salted fish.
Korean Inspired Soft Tofu Soup with Kimchi
2 quarts dashi broth
1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon (more or less, depending on your taste) Korean red pepper
Salt to taste
1/2 ounce dried mushrooms, such as shiitake or wood ear, reconstituted and sliced thinly
1-14 ounce package organic soft (silken) tofu
1 handful cellophane noodles, soaked until pliable (optional)
Sliced scallions (green and white part) for serving
Sesame oil for serving
Good quality kimchi for serving
Bring the broth to a boil and add the onions, and garlic. Add the red pepper and a little salt and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and correct salt. Add the mushrooms and tofu and simmer for another few minutes. Add the noodles and heat through until translucent.
Ladle into deep bowls and garnish each serving with scallions, a drizzle of sesame oil, and kimchi.