This vegan kimchi stew is quick and easy to prepare, packed with flavour and as spicy as you want it to be. Served with sliced tofu, shiitake mushrooms and rice on the side, it’s a full and hearty meal that can be prepared in less than 30 minutes.
If you’re a fan of flavour-packed fermented foods (like me), then you’re probably always on the lookout for new dishes to try in order to eat more and more of them!
For whatever reason it seemed odd to me at first that ferments would be good in soups, thinking that their sour flavour would be too strong, but I proved myself wrong when I made this delicious sauerkraut soup with root veggies and chickpeas. It was delicious, well balanced and great to warm you up on a chilly evening!
So when I over-fermented my last batch of vegan kimchi (to the point of extreme sourness), I knew that vegan kimchi stew was next on the list!
This recipe is adapted from maangchi.com’s kimchi jjigae recipe, my go-to recipe website for all things Korean. Although the original recipe is not vegan, calling for pork, kimchi stew is super easy to veganize by omitting the pork and/or replacing it with veggies.
For my vegan kimchi stew recipe I used dried shiitake mushrooms and soaked them in hot water for a few minutes to get a wonderful, earthy mushroom stock to use as the soup base.
Then it was simply a question of sautéing an onion and the kimchi for a few minutes to soften and adding kimchi juice, stock, the sliced mushrooms and tofu. I flavoured the soup with soy sauce, sesame oil, Korean chili paste and chili flakes and a touch of sugar to balance out the sourness.
When you prepare this vegan kimchi stew, keep in mind that it will come down to your personal taste and the quality of the kimchi you’re using. As I mentioned before, my kimchi was especially sour (making it perfect for soup) but if you’re kimchi is not, you may not need to add sugar.
Similarly, you can adjust the amount of chili powder to your tolerance for spiciness. Once you taste the soup, fell free to adjust any of the seasoning ingredients in order to get a good balance of flavours.
Serve this vegan kimchi stew with a side of rice and any of the typical Korean side dishes of your choosing. It’s also good with any combination of steamed, sautéed or boiled veggies if you don’t feel like making a lot of effort (I had it with steamed sweet potato and it was delish!).
- 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 2 ½ cups (590 ml) water, divided
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tightly packed cup (about 200 grams) vegan kimchi
- ¼ cup (60 ml) kimchi juice (from the bottom of the jar or squeeze it out of the kimchi)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoons Korean chili paste (gochujang)
- 2 teaspoons Korean chili flakes (gochugaru), adjust to taste
- 1 – 2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
- Half a package of firm or extra-firm tofu, sliced into 6 slices
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 -2 green onions, sliced
- 2 radishes, cut into matchsticks (optional)
- A sprinkling of sesame seeds (optional)
- Bring 2 cups of the water to the boil, remove from the heat and add the dried shiitake mushrooms. Let sit for 15 minutes to rehydrate. Once hydrated, give the mushrooms a bit of a squeeze, cut off and discard the hard stems and slice the mushrooms. Reserve the mushroom stock for the soup.
- Heat a medium pot over medium-high heat and add the oil and onion. Sautee until soft then add the kimchi. Sautee for about 5 minutes or until the kimchi is softened. Add the mushroom stock, being careful not to add any grit that came out of the mushrooms, remaining ½ cup (60) of water, kimchi juice, soy sauce, chili paste and flakes. Taste and if it’s too sour for your liking add 1 – 2 teaspoons of sugar.
- Add the sliced shiitake mushrooms and nestle the tofu slices down into the stew so that they’re covered by the stock. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to medium and gently simmer for 5 minutes or until the tofu is heated through.
- Remove from the heat and add the sesame oil. Divide the stew between two bowls each with 3 slices of tofu and garnish with green onion, radishes and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Serve with rice.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 2
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 618 Total Fat: 36g Carbohydrates: 68g Protein: 10g
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