Spicy Korean Soup on a Cold Winter’s Night? (aka the “Riff on Sundubu” Post)

Why should big, bold, beautiful flavors be complicated? The answer is — they don’t have to be. In this simple soup recipe, inspired by sundubu jjigae, a traditional spicy Korean soup made with tofu and kimchi, a few authentic ingredients do the heavy lifting.

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The key to this recipe, which comes together quickly, is to prep all vegetables in advance of cooking. Additionally, homemade stock adds complexity and deliciousness. Choice of add-ins means that this soup can be vegetarian — or not. We used leftover braised leg of lamb and it was absolutely delicious.

Spicy Korean Soup (aka Sundubu)
Serves 4

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 Serrano chili pepper, minced
1 medium onion, sliced
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 T anchovy paste
6 c. homemade stock (chicken, pork or veg.)
2 T Korean hot pepper paste (also known as kochujang or gochujang)
8 oz kale, chiffonaded
Salt and pepper to taste (alternatively, soy sauce and pepper)

Suggested add-ins: 
Soft or silken tofu, cubed
Kimchee (to taste)
Shredded chicken, pork, or leftover braised leg of lamb — at room temp
Glass noodles (also known as cellophane noodles or bean thread noodles)

Optional toppings: 
Thinly sliced Serrano peppers
Sliced scallions
Toasted sesame seeds
Red pepper flakes

Directions: Sauté garlic, serrano pepper and onion in 1-2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed stock pot for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant; add anchovy paste and stir until combined. Add mushrooms and zucchini and cook until beginning to soften, approx. 5-7 minutes. Add stock, cover and and bring soup to a simmer; stir in Korean hot pepper paste until combined and add kale. Cover and simmer until kale is wilted, approx. 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, prep soup bowls with add-ins of choice. Once soup is ready, ladle soup into bowls and add toppings (optional). Enjoy!

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Lunch: Tuesday, May 5, 2009

photo4I’m again on the stump for Dean & Deluca‘s hot soups, this time for a black-eyed pea soup with collard greens, which has a wonderful smokey flavor and is dense enough to be approaching chili-like stature. Perfect for a day like today (Day 4 of the last five that have been gray, cold and rainy, with no apparent end in sight.)

I’m just impressed with D&D’s soups overall. They’re priced competitively — a large (16 oz., $6.25) is right on par with any of the soup factories in the area, such as Hale & Hearty and Cafe Metro on Seventh Avenue — but the variety of soups is much more interesting and the flavors are complex and satisfying.

The other contender today was a creamy Jerusalem artichoke soup with a bit of a citrus kick at the end. It would have been perfect in an 8 oz. portion with half a rustic tuna sandwich, except that D&D had run out of small soup containers.

I’ll be on the lookout now for the split pea, which is one of my favorites. And judging by the fact that it was sold out by 1:45 p.m., I’m guessing I’m not alone. …

PREVIOUSLY:

Split pea soup. I just can’t get enough, just can’t get enough (March 25, 2009)
New obsession alert: Mushroom and barley soup at Dean & Deluca (April 5, 2009)

Dinner: Friday, April 10, 2009

photo17How to make soup from a can taste better than soup from a can, Part 2. Also known as the shortest dinner post yet, I’ve got places to go, friends to see:

Can of chicken noodle soup heated too hot on the stovetop (I forgot about it), crack in an egg, pour on top of lettuce, fresh herbs, olive oil, salt; let wilt. 

Much improved. 

COST: >$5
PREP TIME: 5 minutes

Lunch: Monday, April 6, 2009

New obsession alert:

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There’s a suppleness, a headiness, a rich, velvety je ne sais quais to Dean & Deluca‘s mushroom and barley soup ($6.75 lrg.) that completely caught me off guard; I think it might be love at first … bite?

Plus, every soup gets you a real, legitimate bread unit, not some dried-out cast-off, or yesterday’s loaf-ends. My soup today came with a thick-skinned sourdough breadstick, all the better with which to soak and savor the flavor.

I foresee more D&D foraging in my future. In the meantime, ogle away at some sweet treats on display today after the jump:

Continue reading “Lunch: Monday, April 6, 2009”