Soothing Tofu-and-Zucchini Soup with Bean Sprouts

In Korea, almost every restaurant has a version of this comforting dish, usually made with beef or pork. For his vegetarian alternative, David Chang prepares a broth with doenjang (Korean miso paste) and a little sugar, then spices it with red-pepper powder and fresh chile.

Total Time:
30 mins


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped

  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced

  • 8 cups water

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons doenjang, a Korean soybean paste (see Note), or dark miso

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon kochukaru, a Korean red pepper powder (see Note), or Aleppo chiles

  • 1/2 pound mung bean sprouts

  • 1 medium zucchini, very thinly sliced

  • 14 to 16 ounces soft tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 1 spicy green long chile, preferably Korean, thinly sliced


  1. Heat the canola oil in a large pot. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the water and doenjang and whisk until dissolved. Add the soy sauce, brown sugar and kochukaru and bring to a boil. Add the bean sprouts and zucchini and cook until the zucchini is just tender, about 2 minutes. Add the tofu cubes and cook until the tofu is heated through, about 2 minutes. Ladle into bowls, garnish with the sliced chile and serve.


Doenjang and kochukaru are available at Korean and Asian markets.

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