This Korean kimchi soft tofu soup has a fiery broth that infuses custardy tofu with deep flavors and spices. Traditionally served at the table boiling hot in its cooking vessel with an egg cracked in the middle, this healthy dish full of vegetables and protein warms the belly and satiates the palate.
What to buy: While you can find kimchi at many grocery stores (and it’s fine to use store-bought here), try your hand at making your own.
Korean chile paste, also known as kochujang or hot pepper paste, is a fermented mixture of glutinous rice, soybeans, and red pepper powder. It is found in jars or plastic tubs in Korean markets and will last indefinitely refrigerated in a covered container. Add spoonfuls to soups, marinades, and salad dressings for a spicy kick.
- 1Heat the oil in a large saucepan with a tightfitting lid over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
- 2Add the chile paste, stir to combine, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the zucchini, season with salt, and stir to combine. Add the kimchi and cook, stirring occasionally, until simmering, about 2 minutes. Add the broth and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Taste and season with salt as needed.
- 3Using a large serving spoon, add the tofu by very large spoonfuls, taking care not to break up the tofu into little bits. Gently press down on the tofu with the back of the spoon so that the broth is mostly covering it. Simmer until the tofu is heated through and the flavors have melded, about 3 minutes.
- 4Crack the eggs, if using, into the simmering mixture. Cover and simmer until the whites are set, about 2 minutes. Divide the stew and eggs among 3 bowls, being careful not to break up the tofu or the egg yolks. Garnish with the scallions and serve immediately with rice on the side.