I grew up eating all kinds of Asian Foods since my Mother is Chinese and she particularly liked Korean food. I remembered a soup that she used to make that I was always afraid would be too hot because of the red color that came from Korean Chili Powder, but she made it mild for us kids. I was thinking about that soup tonight and decided to recreate it having had a similar one at a Korean Restaurant recently. I remembered that my Mother would marinate sliced Beef in a mixture of Korean Red Pepper Powder, Soy Sauce and Garlic. Korean Soy Sauce is always gluten free, by the way and if you don't have it, use Tamari instead. The Soup Base was Beef Broth and the vegetable was sliced Zucchini. Sometimes she would cook Eggs in it too. The Soft Tofu was wonderfully creamy and would soak up the flavors of the soup. At the end of the cooking time, she would pour in some Sesame Oil and sprinkle it with Green Onions. It was easy, fast to make and delicious. I'm happy to say that it turned out just right. I must remember to make this more often!
Korean Beef and Tofu Soup
1 pound of Beef Steak, sliced very thin into about 1 inch pieces
3 Tablespoons Korean Red Pepper Powder
3 Tablespoons Korean Soy Sauce or Tamari
3 Garlic Cloves, minced fine
1 Zucchini, ends cut off, cut in half and cut into thin slices
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
4 cups Beef Broth
1 - 2 packages of Soft Tofu (Soon Tofu), removed from package and cut into squares
2 Green Onions, trimmed and cut into small pieces
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
Optional: 3 - 4 Eggs
In a mixing bowl, mix together the Red Pepper Powder, the Soy Sauce and the Garlic. Add the Beef and mix thoroughly.
In a soup pot, heat the Oil and add the Zucchini. Cook, stirring often until he Zucchini softens. Then add in the Beef and cook until it is no longer raw. Then add in the Beef Broth and the Tofu. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes and then add in the Eggs carefully and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Then drizzle with the Sesame Oil and Green Onions to serve.
Five Element Analysis
Beef belongs to the Earth Element and so does Zucchini, so this soup is rather Earthy, but soups by nature are always part of the Water Element too. More of the Water Element comes from the Soy Sauce and Sesame Oil and the Eggs if you use them. The Metal Element is represented by the Tofu Garlic and Green Onions. The Korean Red Pepper Powder makes sure that the Fire Element is also present. Only the Wood Element is missing so be sure to serve some Banchan (side dishes) like Korean Spinach or Kimchi, which has the Wood Element's sour flavor so that the meal is balanced.