Kimchi Tomato Soup

This is my version of kimchi soup and let me just say it completely exceeded all of my expectations.  Of course, there are others, and I suppose more authentic ones who use tofu and pork in their recipe.  I considered those too but in the end I decided I wanted to create something new.  Next time, who knows, I just might add the tofu instead.

I don't know about you but I love Korean cuisine.  It's ranks right up there with my other two favourites, Japanese and Ethiopian.  Although, I should tell you that I generally love anything Asian and sometimes I wonder whether I am living on the right continent.  Don't even get me started on feng shui, or I could go on forever.

Anyway, I decided to turn this recipe into a tomato blend because I was initially craving a tomato soup with a bit of sauerkraut.  In the end, one visit to my local Korean food store changed all of that.  I grabbed one tub of kimchi and never looked back.  I had those cans of San Marzano tomatoes still left so I thought I would put them to good use.  It turned into a rather delicious blend.  I have to say I was rather pleased with myself especially after reading that kimchi was thought to protect one from infection during the SARS outbreak.  Of course SARS might be over, but being a hypochondriac (one just never knows) I ended up eating two extra bowls for added protection.  Unfortunately, the day after I got a nasty cold.  So much for that.  While this soup failed as a vaccine my little flu give me an extra reason to stay home and comfort myself with another bowl.  Maybe, it's the quantity of kimchi consumed that is supposed to create this immunity booster.  Who knows?  If you try this at home, pleaset let me know what you think.  I would love to hear your responses.

To begin you will need to sautee the following:

1 medium size onion (preferably Vidalia, finely chopped)
5 garlic cloves (put them through a press)
2 slices of ginger the size of your thumb (also finely chopped)
1 cup of chicken stock

You will sautee the onions first with the chicken stock and then add the garlic and then the ginger.  You can add some salt and pepper to this, as well as some lemon juice, although you can add this later too.  Once this is done, add it to a large pot and then add the following:

1 can of San Marzano tomatoes (you can get a good deal on these at Costco if you have one near you)
1 small tub of kimch (about 2 cups, I think, there was no label, sorry)
4 bay leaves
1 large carton of chicken stock (same carton you took the intial cup from for the sauteeing of onions)
1 teaspoon of paprika
2 teaspoons of chili paste (I used sambal oelek, you can use one teaspoon if you like)
fleur de sel (use until you achieve the taste you like)
Cambodian black pepper (now that I have this, my life is so much easier, you can use regular pepper too)
1 pinch of chili flakes
juice of 1/2 of a lemon

Let this cook or simmer at a low to medium heat for a bit.  And then use a hand blender to puree the entire contents.  I did this because I'm quite lazy and I didn't feel like chewing on large pieces of cabbage.  Plus, I think this gave the soup some added flavour and a texture that I particularly liked.

Optional:  I added a can of lentils to this after I blended it.  You can add meat to this recipe too as well as tofu, although if you're going to add tofu I would leave out the lentils.  I think one or the other works, but not at the same time.  I added parsley and turmeric for garnish.

If you would like to see another recipe, there is a good one from food.com.

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