Spicy Kimchi Soup

Serves 4

Spicy and sour, it’s a soup full of Eastern promise



  • 1 head Chinese leaf, approx. 600g
  • 3 tbsp sea salt
  • Water, to cover
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 25g piece root ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1-3 tbsp Korean red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 300g mooli, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped


  • 2 tbsp hot pepper paste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 400g pork belly rashers, grilled for 10-15 minutes then cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 litre water
  • 400g firm tofu, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 350g kimchi, as prepared earlier
  • 4 spring onions, chopped


  1. To prepare the kimchi (at least 24 hours before making the soup), cut the Chinese leaf in half lengthways, remove the core and slice the leaves into strips about 1cm wide. Place in a large bowl, add the salt, mix well and add enough water to cover the leaves. Place a small plate inside the bowl to keep the leaves under water, leave to stand for 1-2 hours then tip into a colander and rinse thoroughly. Drain well.
  2. Blend the garlic, ginger, sugar, red pepper and 3 tbsp water to a smooth paste.
  3. Mix the paste with the Chinese leaf, mooli and spring onions then put into an airtight container and leave at room temperature to ferment for at least 24 hours lift the lid occasionally to let gas’ escape from the container. It will then be ready to use, or it can be refrigerated in the container for up to 1 week.
  4. To make the soup, place a large, heavy-based pan on a medium heat, add the hot pepper paste and sugar, and stir for approx. 1 minute. Add the pork, cook for another 1-2 minutes and then add the water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Add the tofu and cook gently on a low heat for 10 minutes then add your prepared kimchi and warm through before serving sprinkled with the spring onions.


Traditionally served with rice, we like ours with rice noodles.

Kimchi is also great as a relish on hot dogs, as part of a sandwich filling or accompanying other Korean and Asian foods.