Spicy Tofu Soup with Scallops – Korean Style | Hong Kong Food Blog with Recipes, Cooking Tips mostly of Chinese and Asian styles | Taste Hong Kong

Spicy Tofu Soup with Scallops – Korean Style

Spicy Tofu Soup with Scallop - Korean Style

I am quite a fan of Korean cuisine. One of the must-order dishes when having a Korean meal was spicy tofu soup. Perhaps due to my repeated trying of this same dish at different restaurants and making comparisons to those tried in Korea, I become more picky and find myself hardly pleased. I then start cooking this tofu soup in my kitchen and increasingly I have reduced the frequencies of ordering it when dinning out.

The skills required for preparing this soup are minimal, but several ingredients, including kelp, cabbage kimch, Korean chilli paste, to me are essential for making a decent stock. Beyond these, I make variations from time to time, more often with scallops, oysters or clams and occasionally combining shrimps with some glass noodles (bean threads) .

To the best of my knowledge, Korean loves using dried anchovies for cooking broth or stock. I should have used this authentic Korean ingredient if there are not so many nice dried silver fishes residing in my fridge for quite a while. As a replacement for the anchovies, however, I double the amount of silver fishes and add some fish sauce to make up for their mild flavor.

Kelp and Silver Fish

  • Ingredients
  • 1 pcs soft tofu, ~200g, diced into ~1cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 100g beef, finely sliced
  • 4 pcs large frozen scallop, defrosted
  • 2 tbsp cabbage kimchi
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp finely chopped spring onion and 1 red chili (for garnishing)
  • Marinades for beef
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp wine
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 oil
  • For Fish Stock
  • 1 pc dried kelp, ~15x5cm
  • 1/2 an onion, shredded
  • 20g dried anchovies (I replaced them by 40g dried silver fish)
  • 1 tsp chili paste
  • 1 tbsp sweet white wine
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups water

Cabbage Kimchi


1) Marinade sliced beef for about 10 to 15 minutes.

2) Briefly rinse kelp and silver fishes, drain dry. In a pot or saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to boil, stir in all other ingredients including kelp, fishes, shredded onion and seasonings for making the stock. Keep boiling them over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Strain fish stock and set aside (I usually discard the kelp but keep the onion and fishes in the stock not only because I believe much nutrients are still there but it would also be a wastage to throw away something that are still edible).

3) Sautรฉ garlic until fragrant, followed by beef and pour in the stock. As the soup boils up again, put in kimchi, tofu, scallops and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Add salt to taste and garnish with spring onion and chili.

From sautรฉing garlic, beef to boiling the soup altogether with tofu and scallops, I use the same clay pot (brought back from Seoul) for cooking and even have it served on table. With it, the soup has been kept hot longer than usual. Enjoy.

Thank You CNNGo

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  1. Sook

    Kimchi and tofu soup is my favorite Korean soup ever! Lovely! I like the idea of adding scallops in the soup. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. MaryMoh

    This looks very very Korean…..delicious! I can never have enough of Korean food. We eat very often at home. I’ll be cooking kimchi chicken again tomorrow….yum.

  3. Janice

    Looks fantastic, I love korean soup, and scallops are a real treat. Haven’t tried it yet and it’s a wonderful ideal

  4. Alta

    This sounds like a delicious soup. Yum!

  5. kathyvegas

    How I would love to order this in a restaurant!

  6. Divina

    Oh my, I l love these kinds of soup. I happen to have some kimchi in the fridge but I still have to look for the other ingredients. The photos are beautiful too.

  7. penny aka jeroxie

    This soup is so flavourful! And the photos does it justice.

  8. Jen

    I’ve had this soup many times in Korea and have never had kimchi in it. Also I’m curious about the wine as I don’t think that would be used in Korea. Did you come up with this recipe completely on you own or is this a reflection of Hong Kong style Korean food? I’m very curious!

  9. TasteHongKong

    @Sook, I use scallops more often because restaurants usually serve shrimps and clams, thanks.
    @Mary, The ‘most Korean’ one is probably the clay pot, thanks.
    @Janice, Thanks.
    @Alta, Thanks.
    @kathyvegas, Hope you would also try your own version at home.
    @Divina, I believe the most needed are dried kelp and chili paste, good luck to your shopping : ).
    @Penny, Thanks.
    @Jen, Right, not all of them include kimchi but some do, and I love to have them than not. It is quite a habit of me to add or sprinkle some wine into fish soup, a personal preference not necessarily Hong Kong style.

  10. Christine@Christine's Recipes

    Your pic are on top 8 of Foodbuzz today. Congrats !

    This spicy tofu soup looks so hot and yummy~

  11. Lori

    Congrats on making the Foodbuzz Top 9! So glad it led me to your blog. We visited Hong Kong in October and the best part was of course the food. I really enjoyed it there.

  12. TasteHongKong

    @Christine, Thank you. Yes, the soup is hot / spicy enough, therefore I chose not to cut up the red chili into slices.
    @Lori, So thank you to the top9 for bringing you here, and thanks for your kind words. Bet you must have tried the dim sum here : ).

  13. Azusa

    I’ve been craving this dish! Nothing like it to warm the soul. Thanks for posting!

  14. 3hungrytummies

    we are having a soup diet atm, this is perfect! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Kitchen Butterfly

    Congrats on makint the Top 9 – YAYYYYYYYYYYY. Looks lovely

  16. CNNGo

    Congratulations on making it onto Food Buzz’s Top 9!! Thanks for linking to CNNGo, too!

  17. Patty

    I love Korean tofu soup – but maybe that is because I am Korean and grew up eating the soup?! ๐Ÿ™‚ Not sure, but it is delicious AND good for you! Sadly, I don’t have a recipe for the dish as my mother always did the cooking and I she doesn’t use ‘recipes.’ So thank you for sharing your recipe! I will try to recreate the dish in my kitchen!

  18. Jessie

    I never had Korean soup but that looks absolutely delicious! I definitely want to try making this sometime

  19. Nancy aka SpicieFoodie

    Wow this looks so amazingly good! I love Kimchi,just had some for dinner, I have tried a this soup in a Korean restaurant and they called it Kimchi Jjigae. Can’t wait to give it a try at home, Thanks for sharing:)

  20. Lori

    The picture of that soup looks so inviting. I have never seen those little fishies.

  21. Shelly

    I love love love Korean style Tofu! It’s so comforting for winter nights!

  22. Brad

    What an intersting soup, thanks for sharing the ecipe and for the comments on my blog. Have a great day.

  23. lululu

    wonderful pictures. nothing sounds more authentic than serving the soup in that bowl!
    and fyi, i do love korean food too! i believe i could hv it everyday!

  24. sophia

    I didn’t know you use gochujang in the soup. Or am I thinking about another stew? Either way, it’s weird to see such a common soup featured in your gourmet blog, hee hee. It’s like seeing the dinner table at my home!

  25. Rasa Malaysia

    Love your blog and have been following it silently. Would love to invite you to guest post on Rasa Malaysia. I sent an email to you via the email address listed in your About page but it was bounced. ๐Ÿ™

    Do get in touch with me if you are interested. ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. TasteHongKong

    Hi Everyone, I was with you though things were a little bit hectic last week, so please give me a moment now to thank all of you for dropping by and leaving me all the kind words. Am excited to hear that you like this spicy tofu soup, I will keep posting in the coming one to two days. Excuse me, my updated email address is tastehongkong[at]gmail[dot]com.

  27. TasteHongKong

    @Rasa Malaysia, Thank you for your kind invitation. I sent you an email, let’s work on that.

  28. Kimchi

    Korean tofu soup is yummy ^-^ YUM YUM! It is my favourite soup and it is easy to make….

  29. Vian

    Hello, i’ve been looking for the Korean Chilli Paste in Singapore but i only found the Chilli Paste that are use to make Kimchi. Can i use this chilli paste? How does the Korean Chilli Paste taste like? Thanks!

  30. TasteHongKong

    Like many Korean chilli paste, mine has the tastes of chili, glutinous rice, garlic, onion, fermented soybean, wine, salt, and syrup (yes, they are the ingredients too). You may then compare.
    Good luck!

  31. Vian

    hello, i saw there are three types of korean chilli paste in my grocery stores here. There is one type for fried rice so i think this is not for soup. 2nd type is hot pepper. 3rd type, my friend bought it and it taste sweet and hot – like the hong kong cheong fun sauce. So which one should i use?