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Kimchi Soup with Ginger-Pork Meatballs


  • 1 large onion diced
  • 8 cloves garlic diced
  • 1 thumb-size piece ginger grated
  • 3 heads baby bok choy trimmed and sliced into bite-size pieces
  • 4 large carrots peeled and cut on a bias or shaved into ribbons
  • 1 cup packed, chopped kimchi plus extra juice if you've got it
  • 1 5 ounce can water chestnuts drained
  • 1/2 cup edamame frozen is fine
  • 1 TB white miso
  • 1 TB gojuchang if you don't love spicy, try 2 tsp
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 9-12 ounce package fresh udon noodles optional. If you're planning on serving this to a table of people I'd double the noodles.
  • an abundance of scallions, cilantro, sesame seeds, lime, tograshi, soft-boiled eggs for topping

For the Meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 5 scallions diced
  • 1 TB microplaned/grated ginger
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 TB breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5-spice
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt


  1. Gently mix all the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl. Set aside to flavor while you get started on the soup.

  2. Heat a large dutch over over medium-high heat with enough oil to coat the bottom. 

    This soup is mainly just chucking things into a pot so I suggest getting everything chopped ahead of time to make life easier. 

  3. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic and ginger, stirring to brown. 

    Add the miso and gojuchang, letting the pastes melt into the onion mix. 

  4. Next tip in the kimchi, and carrots. 

    Add the broth, cover and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer and let cook until carrots are soft but still toothsome, like ten minutes.

  5. Meanwhile set a large skillet over medium high heat, oiled.

    Form the pork mix into meatballs and add to the sizzling pan. Brown on all sides and cook through. 

  6. Once the carrots are just about done, taste the broth and adjust as needed. Stir in the remaining bok choy, water chestnuts and edamame. Simmer for another few minutes, let the bok choy soften but don't overdo it or it'll really fall apart.

  7. When ready to serve, get all your selected toppings ready -- cook the noodles (if using) to package instructions, do your eggs, chop herbs, etc. 

  8. Spoon generous amounts of soup into shallow bowls with plenty of veg and meatballs per serving. Set out toppings and noodles for people to add themselves. 

Recipe Notes

  • Homemade kimchi is so easy and such a fun thing to make from scratch. I use the recipe from "Two Red Bowls" most often, although the seasonal versions from chef Edward Lee's Smoke and Pickles are very creative and delicious. 
  • Miso is a fermented soybean paste and it adds a butterscotchy umami flavor. Found at better grocery stores and Asian markets. 
  • Gojuchang is a sticky chili paste. There is no substitute for its deep sweet heat and it's easily found at most grocery stores now so there's no excuse for not having this flavor explosive in your fridge at all times. If you want other uses for it try Sweet & Spicy Fire Shrimp
  • This makes a big potful and can certainly be made ahead, but I'd caution against making the noodles ahead of time as they will get super gummy and disintegrate into the soup and be gross.