Tofu Kimchi Stew

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

This soup featuring soft tofu, zucchini and kimchi gets its authentic Korean flavor from gochujang, a spicy-sweet condiment made from red chiles and fermented beans. The thick paste is used extensively in Korean cuisine as a condiment for everything from grilled tofu to soup. You’ll usually find it sold in small plastic tubs at Asian markets and many well-stocked grocers. You can adjust the spiciness of the soup by varying the amount of gochujang you use. Serve with hot steamed rice.


  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup (4 oz./120 g) Napa cabbage kimchi, coarsely chopped, plus 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) juice from kimchi jar
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) vegetable broth
  • 1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/4-inch (6-mm) pieces
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) mirin
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. gochujang or sambal oelek chile paste
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) soft tofu
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. dark sesame oil
  • 3 Tbs. thinly sliced green onions


In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the canola oil. Add the onion and sauté until it begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the chopped kimchi, garlic and ginger, and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the broth, zucchini, mirin, chile paste, sugar, 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) water and the reserved kimchi juice, and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the zucchini is tender, about 10 minutes. Break up the tofu into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces and gently stir it into the soup. Cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Taste the broth—it should be spicy, sweet and a little sour from the kimchi. Adjust the seasoning to taste with soy sauce and additional chile paste, if desired. Stir in the sesame oil, ladle the soup into the bowls, sprinkle with the green onions and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Vegetarian, by Kristine Kidd (Weldon Owen 2014)

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