Katie's Spicy Korean Tofu Soup

I was sick this past week and really needed something to bring me back to health. What's better than homemade soup when the couch and a box of tissues are your only friends in the world? Nothing. So I walked the 10 feet outside my door to my local Treasure Island to gather some ingredients.

I've been wanting to try making a spicy "Korean Inspired" tofu soup ever since I tasted one for the first time. The place I stayed during the weekdays while I was in Korea, was a small town called Songtan. About a block or two away from our hotel was a little outdoor market with live and dried fish, fresh local vegetables and spices. I really wanted to bring a little bit of the Korean heat back home with me without being detained in US Customs for smuggling raw squid or kimchi in a plastic baggie. So I decided to get a big bag of Gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper powder) at the market. It's been sitting in my cabinet begging me to use it, so I finally broke it out and put it to the test. This is by no means a traditional Korean soup, but I used the flavors or Korea to come up with it. Enjoy!

Katie's Spicy Korean Tofu Soup

1 box Firm silken tofu (cubed)
2 scallions (sliced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 pack mushrooms (any kind you like, sliced)
1/2 head Napa cabbage (sliced in strips)
1/4 lb bean sprouts
5 tsp Gochugaru (crushed red pepper flakes or ground red pepper as an easy substitute)
5 tbsp miso
4 cups beef broth (or dashi if you have a good Asian market)
3 cups water
1/2 pack of chuka soba noodles
3 tbsp sesame oil
salt and pepper

Start by heating up the sesame oil over medium heat in a soup pot. Add garlic to seasame oil and cook for about 30 seconds. Combine the miso paste and gochugaru in a small bowl and add to the garlic in the pot. Stir to combine all ingredients in the pot and let cook for about 2 minutes.

Add the broth and water to the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and bring to a simmer. Add mushrooms, bean sprouts, tofu and scallions to broth and let cook for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Just before serving, add the noodles and cabbage and let cook for about 2 minutes, just until soft.

Okay, not the prettiest soup, but it's dang good. Its so simple to prepare and has so many delicious flavors with a good kick of heat. Feel free to add more pepper powder the spicier you like it.

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