- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced (a red one is nice)
- 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, de-stemmed, cut into bite-sized pieces ( or sub cremeni)
- 4–6 fat garlic cloves, rough chopped
- 1 tablespoon ginger, paste or finely minced
- 2 cups kimchi, drained, chopped
- 5 cups water or broth
- 1 tablespoon miso paste (or soy sauce, or GF liquid aminos)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or lemon)
- 1 tablespoon chili paste ( sambal oelek)
- 2 teaspoons honey ( or sugar or alt sweetener)
- 1 12 ounce package silken tofu, cut into small, ½-inch cubes
- 1–2 large handfuls chopped kale
- generous drizzle toasted sesame oil – imperative!
- garnishes : nori or toasted seaweed cut into strips, sesame seeds, scallions, watercress
Serve over noodles or rice if you like – see notes.
In a dutch oven, on the stove, heat oil over medium heat and saute onion 4-5 minutes, stirring, then add mushrooms and cook until tender, about 5 more minutes, seasoning them with a pinch of salt. Add garlic and ginger and continue cooking and stirring 2-3 minutes until the garlic is fragrant.
Add the chopped kimchi, water and miso paste.
Bring to a simmer and stir until the miso dissolves. Add salt, vinegar, honey, chili paste, stirring until combined and simmering. Add tofu gently, then kale and gently bring to a simmer again, stirring, being careful not to break up the delicate tofu. I like to use a wood spoon for this- no sharp edges. 😉 Let this simmer for 5 minutes.
Serve in bowls and for extra heartiness, you could serve over rice, or rice noodles.
Drizzle with a little toasted sesame oil ( 1-2 tablespoons) which adds a delicious earthiness and richness. To me, this really makes the soup, so if you don’t have it, don’t make it.
The nori strips add a ton of flavor too.
Do not make this without the toasted sesame oil!
Every kimchi tastes slightly different. Make sure the kimchi tastes good to you, to start with. Some kimchi is spicier than others. Some kimchi is more sour than others. Some kimchi has fish sauce in it -which is not vegan- but will help with depth of flavor. Taste the soup as you season it. You may need less vinegar, more salt, for example. You may need to add another splash of soy sauce for depth. For my batch, the honey really helped balance things out, and the sesame oil, made all the difference.
I cooked my rice noodles right in the kimchi soup pot. If you do this, make sure to not use too much! Four ounces of dry rice noodles is probably plenty. They will swell, a whole lot!!! You can also cook them separately and pour soup over top, especially is saving the soup for lunches or other meals.
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