Recipe For Korean Tofu Soup with Rice Cakes


Rice cakes are made from glutinous rice flour. We buy them at the Korean market. They’re a great alternative to bánh phở or ordinary noodles. What I love most about this product is  that they’re made with no additives or preservatives. They’re a favorite at our house. The texture is very nice, and works well in a simple, clear vegetable broth. If you’re looking for a healthy meal, this is not your average diet cabbage soup.

1. Info for Korean Tofu Soup with Rice Cakes

  • Cook Time: 35 min
  • Total Time: 50 min
  • Servings: 10
  • Calories: 264 kcal

2. Ingredients for Korean Tofu Soup with Rice Cakes

  • 1 (17.63-ounce) package rice cakes, pre-sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (or any neutral oil)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, finely minced
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 2 dried red chiles
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 (2-inch) chunk ginger, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 Fuji apples, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, depending on the sweetness of the apples
  • 8 ounces mustard spinach (or Chinese cabbage)
  • 1 (12.3-ounce) package Korean firm tofu
  • 3 stalks celery, peeled and sliced
  • 1 carrot, trimmed and peeled
  • 1 daikon radish, trimmed and peeled
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons green onions, finely sliced
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

3. Directions:

  1. Frying the garlic and shallots: Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot. Sauté the garlic until golden. Transfer to a plate. Add the shallots and dried chiles to the oil, and cook, stirring frequently to prevent the shallots from burning, until the color is evenly golden brown. Transfer the shallots to the plate as well.
  2. For the tofu: Drain the liquid from the package of the tofu. Pat the tofu dry with a paper towel. Cut the piece of tofu into 1/2 inch slices. Using the oil from the pot, pan-fry the slices until slightly golden. Don’t overcook the pieces or they’ll start to get hard. The tofu should still be moist. Transfer all the tofu to a paper towel and let it cool. Once the tofu slices are cool enough to handle, cut them into cubes. Set aside on a plate.
  3. For the shitake mushrooms: In the same pot, add the shiitake mushrooms and sauté them for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to the same plate.
  4. Char the onion: Peel the whole onion without cutting the stem to make sure the onion doesn’t fall apart in the broth. Place a grill on your stove and char all the skin of the onion. Wrap it in aluminum foil. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Wash the onion under cold running water; the blackened skin will come right off.
  5. Prepping the rice cakes: Soak the oval rice cakes in a large bowl filled with cold water for about 45 minutes. Drain the water using a colander. Set aside until the vegetable broth is ready.
  6. When you’re ready to serve, fill a medium-sized pan with about 2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil and add the rice cakes. Wait for the water to come back to a boil (about 1-2 minutes), then immediately lower the heat to a gentle boil. Cook for about 8 minutes. Do NOT over-cook; otherwise the rice cakes will be hard. You want the rice cakes to be moist and chewy. Drain the liquid and transfer the rice cakes to a large platter. Drizzle with sesame oil to prevent the rice cakes from sticking to each other.
  7. How to make vegetarian broth: In the pot, combine the garlic, shallots, ginger, charred onion, apples and 3-1/2 quarts of water. Bring to a roaring boil for about 30 minutes and cook until the broth is reduced by 1/3. Regularly skim the impurities rising to the surface of the broth using a fine mesh strainer. Add the carrot and daikon and lower the heat to a bubbly simmer. Cook for about  20 more minutes. Add the sliced celery, soy sauce, sugar and salt. Cook for another 15 minutes. Remove the daikon (if you like the taste) and carrot from the broth. Slice the vegetables and place them back in the broth. Add the shiitake mushrooms, 2 tablespoons of cilantro and 2 tablespoons of green onions. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Season with more salt and pepper. The vegetarian broth is ready.
  8. For the mustard spinach: Place the long leaves of mustard spinach with stems in a spider strainer. Blanch the greens by dipping the strainer for about 2-3 minutes in the vegetable broth. Lift the strainer and immediately transfer the tender greens into an ice-cold water bath. Drain and cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces (small bite-sized pieces). Set aside until you’re ready to serve.
  9. Remove and discard the apples.
  10. Be organized; line up your serving bowls. Place some mustard greens and the rice cakes in each bowl. Ladle the broth into the bowls with the vegetables. Top with fried tofu.
  11. Garnish with more green onions and cilantro. Serve with chili garlic sauce (tướng ớt) on the side.
  12. Bon appétit!

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