Kimchi soup

Serves: 3-4

Kimchi soup
Kimchi soup Kimchi soup

I have written about my obsession with kimchi before but not given a recipe so, included in this recipe for a classic Korean soup is one for homemade kimchi. If you don’t already know, kimchi is a fermented cabbage condiment that is a staple of the Korean diet. I realise that a long list of ingredients is usually off-putting but once you have made the kimchi (and that’s a doddle) it’s plain sailing. You need at least 3-4 days to make a good kimchi, so if you haven’t got time then order some online or try and search out an oriental supermarket. Most Chinese supermarkets will stock it fresh or in a jar. You can order the Korean red pepper flakes or paste at You could also throw in any extra bits of vegetables you may have lying around-broccoli florets, beansprouts, cabbage, chard and mushrooms are all delicious in the soup.


  • For the kimchi
  • 1 chinese cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 40g Maldon salt
  • 4 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 heaped tablespoon finely grated ginger, about 25-30g piece of root ginger
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 4 tablespoons gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) or 2-3 tablespoons gochujang (paste)
  • For the soup
  • 375g rindless pork belly, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons runny honey
  • 1 teaspoon gochugaru
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 2 banana shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock or water
  • 200g tofu, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
Kimchi soup


  1. Place the cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle over the salt. With your hands massage the salt into the cabbage for about 3-4 minutes until it starts to produce a little liquid. Cover with cold water and leave to soak overnight.
  2. Drain the cabbage and rinse well under cold running water. Squeeze out any excess moisture and place the cabbage in a mixing bowl. Stir in the remaining kimchi ingredients and mix really well. Pack the kimchi into a sterilised kilner jar and seal. Leave at room temperature for at least 48 hours or until you can start to see a few bubbles forming. This shows the cabbage is fermenting. Chill the kimchi at this stage. You can keep the kimchi in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.
  3. For the soup, place the pork belly in a bowl and stir in soy sauce, honey and gochugaru. Leave for 30-40 minutes to marinate.
  4. Heat the oil in a saucepan and over a low heat sauté the shallots for about 10 minutes. Add the carrots and pork and turn the heat up slightly. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Stir in 200g of the kimchi and pour in the stock. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down and simmer for 40 minutes until the pork and carrots are tender.
  5. Stir in the tofu and warm through. Sprinkle over the coriander and serve immediately.
Kimchi soup