The Architecture of Soup

Flavor-packed soups rich in texture and color that will warm you up—and fill you up.

By Diana Pittet


the architecture of soup—KimchiMother-in-Law’s Kimchi Stew

"Korea is well known for its barbecue, but it really is soup country," explains Lauryn Chun, author of The Kimchi Cookbook. Of all its soups, this chigae, or stew, is as comforting to Chun as chicken-noodle soup. It does have a touch of spicy heat from the kimchi, the fermented vegetable relish that is the national dish of Korea, but it is quick and easy to make and will come to comfort you regularly on miserable winter nights. If tofu is not your thing, you can add leftover beef, mackerel, sardines, white fish, pork, or chicken.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter, divided
  • 2 cups Napa cabbage kimchi, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup of reserved kimchi
  • juice or water
  • 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • 14 ounces medium-firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 scallions, green part only, cut into 2-inch pieces


In a 4-quart pan, warm the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the kimchi and cook until it becomes more translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the kimchi juice or water, reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot, and continue to cook for 8 to 10 minutes, opening the lid occasionally to make sure the kimchi is not dry or burning. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the soy sauce and stir. Add the tofu and cook uncovered until the tofu is fluffy and has absorbed the kimchi flavors, about 10 minutes. Stir in the scallion greens and cook 1 more minute. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately.

Make 6 servings

Adapted from The Kimchi Cookbook: 60 Traditional and Modern Ways to Make and Eat Kimchi