This 25-Minute Soup May Redeem Your Winter

It may also change your mind about tofu

Mark Bittman
Heated
Published in
3 min readJan 28, 2021

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Photo: Burcu Avsar & Zach DeSart

Earlier this year (I believe it was just before quarantine set in) we did a sort of tofu primer, with an eye towards encouraging those of you who are anti-tofu or tofu agnostic to give this polarizing ingredient another chance. In doing so, I neglected to include the recipe that many people have told me was their gateway drug: kimchi-tofu soup.

Now that it’s basically winter, a dish like this — warm, comforting, highly flavorful, and done in 25 minutes — is a lot more than just a friendly vehicle for tofu; it’s borderline essential. The main ingredient is kimchi, which adds spice and sourness to the broth while requiring literally no work from you (unless you make your own). Note that while many varieties of kimchi that you can find at the store contain fish sauce or shrimp paste, there are plenty that don’t, so if you want to make this soup vegan, just look for one of those.

Where the kimchi delivers all the flavor, the tofu brings the body. Silken tofu is traditional in a dish like this; it soaks up every flavor you surround it with, and breaks apart gently in the soup. (Most people’s main complaint about tofu is the texture, but this stuff is luscious, smooth, and a lot harder to knock, IMHO.) A handful of short-grain white rice cooked directly in the…

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Mark Bittman
Heated

Has published 30 books, including How to Cook Everything and VB6: The Case for Part-Time Veganism. Newsletter at markbittman.com.