Doenjang Guk – A Korean Vegetarian Delightful Meal in a Bowl

I have to say that I am really enjoying finding recipes that go well with Kimchi as a sidekick (Kimchi is one of our favorite homemade staples in the house lately). Back in early December, I made a Kimchi Soup and it was oh so creamy and spicy delight!

Why not try something different and keep Korean? So this afternoon I was searching for another Korean Vegetarian soup contender to make and this recipe fancied me particularly because we had a few zucchini’s already in the fridge as well as the Korean Bean paste.

Hmm, interesting. During my journey learning about Korean cuisine, I learned a good differentiation from soups versus stews:

  • Doenjang Guk – means Korean Bean Paste Soup (more liquid is used than the stew below), Guk = soup.
  • Doenjang Jjigae  – means Korean Bean Paste Stew (just use less liquid), Jjigae = stew

Who knew…good to know. I am going to watch the terminology being used whenever I eat out at a Korean Restaurant!

The Verdict of Korean Soybean Paste Vegetarian Soup: 

Korean cuisine is truly impressing me, especially so in the soup department. This recipe is so easy and one would think that the soup base simmered for a long time and/or have had a ton of labour behind it because of its rich beautiful creamy and deep base. No not so. With the zucchini, shiitake mushrooms, tofu and onion, it is such a healthy soup. The shiitake mushrooms definitely added another deep meaty level to the soup and also the base itself. I would not use nothing but shiitake mushrooms. Add in the Kimchi and an optional 7 minute egg and you have a meal!

More soup? Yes please? Give me more…I love this Korean Bean Paste Soup. Deep base, spicy goodness and the zucchini are so flavorful and filling.

 

Missing from picture above: Kimchi and eggs in which I added in at the end!

Korean Soybean Paste Vegetarian Soup Ingredients:

  • 4 small zucchini, peeled, thinly sliced and cut into quarter circles
  • 1 packet (50g, 1.8 ounces) shiitake mushrooms – thinly sliced.
  • 1 medium yellow onion – diced.
  • 250g  (8.8 ounces) Korean tofu – medium firm – diced or cut into small rectangular pieces
  • 5 cups vegetable broth

Soup seasoning sauce (mix these well in a small bow):

  • 6 Tbsp Korean soybean paste (Doenjang)
  • 2 tsp Korean chili paste (Gochujang)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp anchovies, minced
  • 2 tablespoon seaweed
  • 1 cup hot water
Garnish
  • green onion, sliced very thin the long way
  • kimchi
  • seven minute boiled eggs

Korean Soybean Paste Vegetarian Soup Instructions:

  • Mix all ingredients for soup seasoning in a bowl with 1 cup of hot water.
  • Heat olive oil up in pot,
  • Sauté zucchini and the onion for 3 minutes on med high heat. Add in soup seasoning and 5 cups of veggie stock.
  • Add the tofu and boil for a further 1 to 2 mins.
  • Add the shiitake mushroom and and boil for last the 1 to 2 mins.
  • Turn the heat off and serve.
  • Serve with green onion thinly sliced, a big spoonful of Kimchi and a 7 minute runny egg. Enjoy the meal!
Inspired By This Original Recipe: http://mykoreankitchen.com/2015/05/23/korean-soybean-paste-soup-doenjang-guk/

What I changed from the original recipe:

  • Omitted enoki mushrooms.
  • Revised amounts to make 2x more soup base.
  • Added green onions as garnish.
  • Used 1 tsp anchovies.
  • Used mara seaweed instead of kelp.
  • Used veggie broth instead of water.
  • Added Kimchi as garnish
  • Added 7 minute boiled egg as garnish
Soup Mistress Rating For Korean Soybean Paste Vegetarian Soup:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5) 
Presentation: (4.5/5 )
Taste: (4.5/5) 

Kimchi Soup – A Soup Way Too Creamy Spicy Good to Be Rationed For!

Kimchi, Kimchi, Kimchi…oh I love you by yourself, I love you in fried rice and now you are a shining star swimming around in my soup clay pot!

I’ve been meaning too make this soup since I had it a year and half ago in Singapore. And I am a very lucky gal to be using a fresh batch of my husbands homemade Kimchi in this soup this week. Did you know that back in the day in Korea, Kimchi was normally made to last the long winter months and sometimes used in soups when it is older and perhaps stale (if it can get stale)? Hmmn, interesting, we cannot seem to ration ours well – it disappears magically so fast!

So what is in my husbands Kimchi? It is fermented Napa cabbage, daikon radish, green onions, garlic, ginger and a red chile pepper spice, fish and Korean salted shrimps. I will update this blog post with the link to the recipe he used, which I will be post up shortly. My husband has made 3 batches to date and it seems to be a hot staple in our household.

Now let’s talk about the soup….I followed one particular recipe and adjusted/added some ingredients from other recipes I researched. I am very happy that I took the time to to research many other recipes because the bean paste made it a delight along with the egg.

The Verdict of Kimchi Soup:

I am so happy that I used an egg and added the bean paste. I truly think that is what sets it apart from a so-so kimchi soup to a marvelous creamy spicy goodness. I tried the soup before the egg was stirred in and it was good, but after the egg was stirred in it was very creamy…oh such a creamy spicy delight!

Oh and I love napa cabbage and the red pepper!

But wait , the soup party fun really happens when you have a small bowl of rice on the side. Dip your spoon in and get some of those little white party morsels and give them a quick dip in the soup. More rice please? Yessum.

And finally, I made it a truly authentic experience. I had these authentic Korean clay pots and I broke them in on the stove top for the very first time ever. Serving up the soup and heating the clay pots up until the soup bubbles and drop that key gooey creamy egg in. Be careful and serve the bowl bubbling hot to your hungry mates with an oven mitt and placeholder underneath though!

Kimchi Soup Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 clove garlic garlic, finely chopped
  • 1  teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 16-oz. package silken tofu, cut into 1” pieces
  • 4 cups gently squeezed cabbage kimchi, chopped, plus 1 cup liquid
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
  • 2 teaspoons doengjang (Korean bean paste)
  • 6 cups veggie stock
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 8 scallions, cut into 1” pieces
  • 2 tablespoons Tamari (or reduced-sodium soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 large bowl of cooked rice

Servings: 6

Garnish:

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • Shredded scallions (green onion) – Tip: Slice them very thin lengthwise and drop them in a bowl of cold water and watch them curl up all pretty!

Kimchi Soup Instructions:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Reduce heat, carefully add tofu, and simmer gently until slightly puffed and firmed up, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer tofu to a medium bowl.
  • Heat butter in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. saute yellow onion, garlic and ginger. Add kimchi and gochujang and  gochujang and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, 5–8 minutes. Add kimchi liquid and 6 cups veggie stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until kimchi is softened and translucent, 35–40 minutes.
  • Add scallions, tamari, fish sauce and tofu; simmer gently until tofu has absorbed flavors, 20–25 minutes (tofu will fall apart a little). Add sesame oil; season with salt and pepper.
  • If you have Korean Hot Pots like I have, ladle soups into them on the stove top. Heat until soft boil and top each with an egg yolk (soft egg), shredded green oinions and sesame seeds.
  • Carfeully serve dish with pot holders.
  • Serve with steamed white or brown rice

Original Recipe: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/spicy-kimchi-tofu-stew

What I Changed From Original Recipe:

  • I added garlic, ginger, yellow onion, and fish sauce
  • I used vegetable stock instead of water – to give it more depth
  • I added Korean bean paste
  • I used butter instead of veggie stock, I wanted an extra creaminess.
Soup Mistress Rating ForMiso Soup With Green Chard and Mushrooms:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5) 
Presentation: (4.5/5 )
Taste: (4.5/5) 

White Miso Soup with Green Chard and Mushrooms – A Heart Warmer And Tease

Feeling like some Japanese soup to warm up? Yeppers, I do, especially today in Vegas because winds are gusting up to 35 mph and the wind is chilly. I did the Rock N Roll half Marathon last night, which was just as windy and I still seem chilled to the bone.

I’ve been meaning to make a Miso soup with some greens for some time now. I had this wonderful White Miso Paste that was tasty just by itself and I have used it a few times in salad dressings and oh so yummy. So I searched on the web to get ideas on alternative vegetable miso soup recipes, and one recipe particularly gave me the idea to add in Green Chard. I love Green Chard – I think I inherited the linking from my mother as she liked to sauté it up as well as beet tops and spinach when I was growing up. Also I felt like adding in some Shitake mushrooms as they are my favorite mushrooms.

The Verdict with Miso Soup With Green Chard and Mushrooms:

This was a very tasty yet very light soup. I was fulfilled mostly and love the white MIso Paste, but I wished that I doubled the Shitake mushrooms. I wanted more solids in my soup. Also I think I will double the seaweed pieces as well next time. I also loved the taste and more so texture of the Dulse Seaweed flakes when I added more in my soup as a garnish.

I would also add maybe a tablespoon or two of Red Miso paste in the future with the White Miso paste to give it a deeper and hearty soup base. The White MIso is perfect for salad dressings but needed a heartier lift. It was teasing me and left me a little unfulfilled as a Soup Lover.

You can read this blog post to get a breakdown of the different kinds of Miso pastes if you are interested in the topic: http://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-white-yel-79637

Miso Soup With Green Chard and Mushrooms Ingredients:

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped green chard
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/3 cup firm tofu, cubed
  • 4 Tbsp white miso paste (fermented soy bean paste)
  • 1 -2 Tbsp red miso paste (I did not have this in my soup, but I think it needs it next time for a heartier base)
  • 1 sheet (1/4 cup) nori (dried seaweed), cut into thin long pieces
  • Dulse Seeweed Flakes

Miso Soup With Green Chard and Mushrooms Instructions:

  • Saute mushrooms in some sesame oil until tender crisp.
  • Place water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • In the meantime, place 4 Tbsp of miso into a small bowl, add a little hot water and whisk until smooth. Then add to the soup and stir. This will ensure it doesn’t clump.
  • Add nori, green chard, green onion, tofu  to the pot . Lower heat to med/low simmers for another 5 mnutes (until chard is nicely wilted). Taste and add more miso or a pinch of sea salt if desired.
  • Ladle in bowls.
  • Sprinkle with seaweed flakes
  • Serve warm.

Original Recipe: http://minimalistbaker.com/15-minute-miso-soup-with-greens-and-tofu/

What I changed from original recipe:

  • Added shitake mushrooms
  • Added a tad more tofu
  • Added Dulse Seaweed flakes
  • Added a cup more of water 

Soup Mistress Rating ForMiso Soup With Green Chard and Mushrooms:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5) 
Presentation: (3/5 )
Taste: (3.5/5) 

Vegetarian or Pescatarian Curry Laksa With Spiralized Zucchini Noodles

 Above is a Pescatarian version with grilled shrimp and eggplant that I made a month later – what a mighty fine addition indeed! Below is the vegetarian version:

So what is Laksa? Well, let me share with you on Wikipedia says:

Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup in the Peranakan cuisine, which is a combination of Chinese and Malay cuisine. Laksa consists of rice noodles or rice vermicelli with chicken, prawn or fish, served in spicy soup; either based on rich and spicy curry coconut milk, or based on sour asam (tamarind or gelugur). It can be found in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Southern Thailand.

The Verdict of Vegetarian Laksa With Spiralized Zucchini Noodles:

Over a year ago, I was blessed with visiting Singapore, Malaysia for 5 weeks and had a chance to try a few Laksa soups to appreciate it from where it originated. All versions I tried had either chicken or seafood in it when I was there. I did not see any vegetarian versions. For my version below, I decided to make a vegetarian Laksa (with egg) and I really LOVED the result, taste and healthiness.

I am sold on this very authentic soup base recipe. If I closed my eyes and smelt the aroma of the soup I made, I truly felt like I was back in Asia!!

I had great fun making my version of the soup for two reasons:

  1. I had an opportunity to use my fancy spiralizr to replace rice noodles with healthy veggie zuchinni noodles. They worked very well.
  2. I attempted to make a perfectly soft-boiled egg to put in the soup and will be trying it in the future with a ramen version I am sure. It added a velvety goodness to the soup!

Laksa Paste Ingredients:

  • 4 red chilies (If you are using dried ones, you need to presoak them)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 3 lemongrass stalks, white part only, chopped
  • 3 cm piece galangal, peeled, chopped
  • 5 cashew nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon shrimp paste
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil

Laksa Paste Instructions:

Place all ingredients in a food Processor. Process until finely chopped. Add oil. Process until a smooth paste forms.

Laksa Soup Ingredients:

  •  Laksa paste (above)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 6 cups veggie stock
  • 2½ tsp brown or raw sugar
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1.5 cup cabbage, chopped
  • 1.5 cup tofu, cubed small to medium sized
  • 2½ cups bean sprouts
  • 3 cups fresh zucchini noodles, spiralized from whole zucchini
  • 1/2 pund shrimp (optional/added)
  • 1 cup diced eggplant (optional/added)

Garnish/Fixings Ingredients:

  • 2 soft boiled eggs (7 minute egg: boil water, softly immerse 2 cold eggs in boiling water, simmer water for exactly 7 minutes, immerse eggs in cold ice water bath, peel and slice the egg just right before placed in the bowls for serving)
  • Fried shallots (in peanut oil)
  • Fresh Thai Basil
  • Sriracha sauce
  • Lime wedges in quarters

Laksa Soup Instructions:

  • Optional: grill shrimp until almost cooked pink/white. Put aside on plate.
  • Heat peanut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add Laksa paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add stock and sugar. Stir to combine, then bring to a simmer.
  • Add carrots, cabbage, and eggplant return to a simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes.
  • Separately, in a frying pan, sauté the zucchini noodles for 1-2 minutes, making sure not to make them to soft and mushy. Divide these noodles among bowls for serving.
  • Add coconut milk, tofu and beansprouts. Stir gently to combine, then bring almost to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook for 2 minutes or until beansprouts are wilted and tofu are heated through.
  • Ladle Laksa soup among bowls. Drop in a few grilled shrimps (optional), scatter over fried shallots, basil leaves, Sriricha sauce, and lime wedges.

Original Soup Recipe: http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/malay-curry-laksa-laksa-lemak

What I Changed From Original Recipe:

  • Added cabbage
  • Added carrots
  • Added soft boiled eggs
  • Omitted prawns, chicken and fish balls
  • Replaced chicken stock with vegetarian stock
  • Replaced thin rice noodles with zucchini noodles
  • Replaced tofu puffs with sprouted organic tofu
  • Replaced mint with basil for garnish

Soup Mistress Rating For Vegetarian Laksa With Spiralized Zucchini Noodles:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5) 
Presentation: (4/5 )
Taste: (4.5/5)