Tuesday, September 3, 2013

recipe: soft tofu soup (순두부 찌개)

any mommy of a toddler knows how hard mealtime is. it's so hard to consistently feed your toddler healthy and nutritious meals, without 1) feeding them the same thing 3x a week or 2) giving into their desires for pancakes and sausages and gummy bears every meal (a few of lana's current obsessions). lana's a pretty good eater, but one of the things that is constantly on my mind (and literally keeps me up at night) is the feeling that i need to continually find new recipes to expose her to a variety of foods.

i generally like to feed lana korean food. i think it's healthier (for the most part), and when armed with a set of basic ingredients, i can use them in different combinations/ways to come up with a wide variety of meals. recently, i've started googling in korean to come up with ideas for her meals. my korean reading skills are not very good so it takes about 5 minutes to read one blog post, but thank goodness for pictures. :)

one of my favorite things about korean food is the soups. you can make so many different kinds of soups with just a handful of ingredients, because they are all variations on the same basic thing. you usually start with a seafood or beef broth (or both), season with soy sauce/garlic/sesame oil, add some veggies, maybe an egg, and you got yourself a soup. lana loves korean soups so it has become my default for her dinners. it's also an easy way to get lana to eat veggies. it's easier to have her eat a piece of radish or spinach when it's nice and soft and has taken on the flavor of the broth than making her eat a piece of steamed broccoli.

today i made soft tofu soup. lana is ok with tofu, but doesn't love it. i don't think i've ever fed her soft tofu though, which is much softer than the regular block of tofu that we usually eat. here's the recipe:

one pack of soft tofu (looks like this):

3-ish cups of water
one piece of kelp (about 3" x 3")
2 oz of beef, cut into small cubes
diced zucchini (not sure how much, just a small bowl-full - so helpful, i know!)
diced onion (same small bowl-full)
one clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp olive oil
salt, to taste

1. put water in a pot with the kelp. boil about 15 minutes or so until the water takes on a yellowish tint. 

2. throw kelp out, pour stock into a bowl.

3. chop up the beef and veggies.

4. on medium-high heat, add the oil to the pot and saute the beef, zucchini, onions and garlic until beef is cooked through and veggies are soft.

5. add back the stock and add the soy sauce and sesame oil.

6. take tofu out of packaging gently (don't want to mush it up too much).

7. add tofu, bring to a boil. then simmer for a little bit until the flavors meld together. add salt if necessary. there might be some beef fuzz at the top - you can just skim it off with a spoon. if your toddler doesn't want it, you can always add some red pepper flakes and make it spicy for yourself. :)


  1. I'm totally trying this for Sarah. She's so picky, and at the ripe age of almost 13 months, she only has 4 little teeth so there aren't too many options. I may skip the beef altogether due to the lack of teeth, but what kind of beef do you use?

  2. I just saw this! Sorry! I never check the comments section haha. I actually use organic steak from Whole Foods - her soups don't call for too much meat so I just use the good stuff. I buy it when it's on sale, then cut into individual-soup-size chunks and freeze.