4 Hearty Asian Soups
That Will Keep You Warm This Winter
By QUYNH (STEPHANIE) BUI | December 11, 2019
Cover photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash
Winter is coming, and like in Game of Thrones, it’s me versus Amsterdam’s cold winds. But it’s not necessarily bad news. Even with the dull weather, there is a chance to feel better: a heartwarming soup. Here are a few Asian soup recipes that will surely keep you warm and fuzzy in your cozy blankets. Let’s get cooking!
#1: Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)
Kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew) is quintessentially Korea’s soul food. The tang and spice from kimchi are elevated when combined with pork belly or tuna, soft tofu, and spring onions. Although it might sound challenging, this dish is mind-blowingly easy to make. A way to accentuate the flavors is to stir-fry the meat, kimchi, garlic, and onions before adding water, as the oil brings out the aroma and acidity in the kimchi. Let this magical soup simmer on low heat for approximately 30~40mins to soften the kimchi and to fully merge the other ingredients. Remember: taste is in the seasoning; therefore, adjust as you go along. If the soup is too spicy, add more water and if it’s too salty, pour in a teaspoon of lime juice. Before turning the heat off, crack an egg on top and let the heat lightly poach it. Although this bubbling stew of joy is perfect on its own, pairing it with its good friends, rice (on the side) or instant ramen (cooked in the soup) makes it exponentially tastier. There is nothing quite like slurping down the first spoon of a boiling kimchi jjigae – an out-of-this-world experience! You can follow this recipe as a guideline!
*Author’s tip: If you really want to go authentic, you can also add gochujang (spicy Korean sauce) and gochugaru (Korean chili flakes), which are easily found in Asian supermarkets.
#2: Soba and Udon:
You can recreate these Japanese lighthearted delicacies at home and store the broth in the fridge for your future enjoyment! This noodle soup has three components: broth (premade dashi stock), soba or udon noodles, and toppings, all of which can be spotted at your local Asian stores. From there, you can effortlessly assemble a bowl of goodness by simply adding your preferred flavor to the broth – shio (salt) or shoyu (soy sauce). Customize your noodle soup by mixing-and-matching toppings. From fish cakes, imitation crab, Narutomaki (yes, the one from our beloved anime), stir-fried pork/beef, tofu to greens, carrots, sweet corn, bean sprouts, and spring onion, the possibilities are endless! Check out this detailed recipe for reference!
#3: Tomyum Kung:
Similarly to the kimchi jjigae from Korea, Tomyum kung is the classic Thai soup. It is packed with flavors – spiciness from the chilies, tanginess from the lime, savor from the fish sauce and fragrance from the basil and Kaffir leaves. The ingredients for this dynamite soup include mushroom, shrimp, pork, lemongrass, tomatoes, and tofu (for our vegetarian readers). Add the tom yum paste/instant tom yum sauce packet (available in Asian supermarkets) into your water/chicken stock and gently cook your vegetables and meat/tofu for around 15~20 minutes. If you prefer the creamy version, mix in coconut or regular milk for richer tastes. For the specific steps, have a look at this recipe (for both clear and creamy base)!
*Author’s tip: Although Albert Heijn offers the tomyum kung spice mix, I would still highly recommend purchasing the Thailand-imported paste to achieve the desired authentic flavors. With this miraculously handy paste, you can skip buying the additional spices listed in the recipes.
#4: Miso soup:
For our readers that are not the most confident with their cooking, miso (Japanese fermented soybean paste) soup might be the solution to your cravings. Pre-packaged, instant miso soup is widely available in Asian supermarkets and comes with freeze-dried seaweed and tofu. With some hot water, your soup is served! However, if you wish to attempt to create this Japanese deeply savory soup from scratch, you can stir miso paste into the dashi stock (mentioned above) and add turnips, carrots, mushroom, kombu (seaweed) and tofu. Read this recipe or this recipe for detailed instructions!
You can find the locations of Amsterdam’s local Asian supermarkets below:
#1: Amazing Oriental: Nieuwmarkt 27, 1011 JS Amsterdam (just outside Nieuwmarkt metro station) Buikslotermeerplein 228, 1025 GA Amsterdam and De Flinesstraat 6, 1114 AL Amsterdam
#2: C&C Asian Market: Albertcuypstraat 267, 1073 BH Amsterdam
#3: Toko Dun Yong: Stormsteeg 9, 1012 BD Amsterdam
If you recreate these soup dishes at home this winter, make sure to send photos of the finished product to us on Instagram @the.magazine.ams or Facebook @The Amsterdammer Magazine! Have fun cooking!