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Kimchi Soup with Canned Tuna

Light, refreshing and delightful kimchi soup recipe. 

What is Kimchi Soup

Kimchi soup (kimchi guk, 김치국) is a staple Korean soup made with kimchi.

The name of kimchi soup can vary based on other ingredients you put in the soup. Today’s kimchi soup recipe includes canned tuna, making this soup’s name tuna kimchi soup (chamchi kimchi guk, 참치 김치국).

Kimchi soup served in a white soup bowl

While this kimchi soup may not look fancy, it is so refreshing and delicious. It’s also very easy to make and budget friendly.

My Best Cooking Tips

While kimchi soup is so easy to make, I have my secret that will make this soup even better.  

  • Spring water from canned tuna – Most canned tuna comes packed in either spring water or oil and I normally discard this when I cook. However, I learnt while experimenting with this recipe that you can get better tasting; more flavor intensified soup by using this water or oil. So be sure to save some water or oil as you drain the tuna. As I prefer lighter and more refreshing taste, I used canned tuna from spring water. However, if all you have is canned tuna packed in oil, you can use that as well.

 

  • Simmering the soup “long enough” – To bring out more depth of kimchi flavor, be sure to simmer the soup long enough (15 to 20 minutes) over medium low heat once the soup is rolling boiling. All ingredients will be cooked and the soup is still edible without boiling for this long, but the soup will taste better if you simmer a bit longer.

Kimchi soup scooped out on a ladle

Similar Recipes with Kimchi Soup

Over the years, I have shared a few different ways to make kimchi soup or stew. Check out my other recipes below and try them. Each will give you a different taste and sensation. 

Also, if you have too much kimchi and don’t know what to do with it, check out my how to eat kimchi post. There you will find 14 different ways you could use your kimchi. 

How to Store Kimchi Soup

If you have leftover kimchi soup, you can refrigerate it in an air tight container for 2 to 3 days. Alternatively, you can portion it and freeze for up to 3 months. (This is when the soup doesn’t contain tofu as with this kimchi soup recipe. Freezing tofu and thawing it can affect the texture of tofu.)

You can reheat the soup in a microwave or on the stove.

Ingredients for Kimchi Soup with Tuna, Serves 2-3

Kimchi Soup Ingredients

MAIN

  • 1/2 cup kimchi, at least 2 to 3 weeks old, cut into bite size pieces if not already
  • 3 Tbsp water, drained from canned tuna
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 canned tuna (chunk style), 185g /6.5 ounces

SAUCE

  • 1/2 Tbsp Korean soup soy sauce (gukganjang) or regular kikkoman soy sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp Korean fish sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp raw sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Korean chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp kimchi juice – this liquid is from the bottom of the kimchi container

GARNISH (OPTIONAL)

  • 10g / 0.4 ounces green onion, thinly sliced
  • fine sea salt, to taste

*1 Tbsp = 15ml, 1 cup = 250ml

** If you want to learn more about Korean ingredients, check my essential Korean cooking ingredients list.

How to Make Kimchi Soup with Tuna

1. Pre heat a medium pot over medium heat (about 20 seconds). Add the kimchi and tuna drained water. Stir them well until the kimchi is partly cooked (about 2 mins).

Kimchi and water from canned tuna in a black pot
2. Add the water and the sauce. Cover the pot and boil over medium high heat. When the water is rolling boil, add the tuna without stirring it too much so as to not to break up the tuna. (It presents better when the tuna isn’t flaked off too much when you serve.)

Adding kimchi soup sauce and canned tuna into the soup

3. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover the pot and boil for a further 15-20 minutes.

Kimchi soup boiling in black pot

4. Garnish with green onions and season with salt, if required. Serve with a bowl of rice, kimchi and other Korean side dishes.

Kimchi soup served with various Korean side dishes and rice

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Kimchi soup served in a white soup bowl

Kimchi Soup

Easy Korean kimchi soup recipe.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate Save
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: kimchi soup, tuna kimchi soup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 3
Author: Sue

Ingredients

MAIN

  • 1/2 cup kimchi , at least 2 to 3 weeks old, cut into bite size pieces if not already
  • 3 Tbsp water , drained from canned tuna
  • 3 cups water
  • 185 g canned tuna (6.5 ounces), chunk style

SAUCE

GARNISH (OPTIONAL)

  • 10 g green onion (0.4 ounces), thinly sliced
  • fine sea salt , to taste

Instructions

  • Pre heat a medium pot over medium heat (about 20 seconds). Add the kimchi and tuna drained water. Stir them well until the kimchi is partly cooked (about 2 mins).
  • Add the water and the sauce. Cover the pot and boil over medium high heat. When the water is rolling boil, add the tuna without stirring it too much so as to not to break up the tuna. (It presents better when the tuna isn’t flaked off too much when you serve.)
  • Reduce the heat to medium low, cover the pot and boil for a further 15-20 minutes.
  • Garnish with green onions and season with salt, if required. Serve with a bowl of rice, kimchi and other Korean side dishes.

Notes

  1. 1 Tbsp = 15ml, 1 cup = 250ml
  2. If you want to learn more about Korean ingredients, check my essential Korean cooking ingredients list.

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Tried this recipe?I love hearing how you went with my recipes! Rate this recipe with a comment below and tag me on Instagram @MyKoreanKitchen.

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Written by: Sue

Last Updated: April 5, 2021
Sue and My Korean Kitchen Profile

Welcome to my Korean kitchen! I’m so happy that you're here. I am Sue, the creator behind My Korean Kitchen (since 2006). I love good food and simplifying recipes. Here you will find my best and family approved recipes. Thanks for stopping by!

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9 thoughts on “Kimchi Soup with Canned Tuna”

  1. I wanted to try your Kimchi Tuna soup but I only had Wild caught Alaskan Salmon so I used it. It was great as I love Salmon. Thanks for the great recipe.
    Fallingwaters

    Reply
  2. When I was stationed at Osan AB, I learned to love Korean food. I tried all types of street food, restaurant food and by far my favorites were the kimchi fried rice and tempura. The grocery stores where I live sell kimchi so I get some once in awhile when I have a hunger for Korean food. Thanks to your web site I have made some of your recipes. Thanks for helping me why I love Korea so much: the people, the countryside and the food!

    Reply
  3. I made this recipe but used sardines instead. I love sardines and use it in boiled rice sometimes with kimchi. Will try the tuna next time for a quick dinner. I think you have to like fish AND kimchi to appreciate this recipe. Thanks!

    Reply
    • It probably would. Based on my quick research, if you boil probiotics at a temperature above 115 F / 42 C, it kills it. But I don’t eat kimchi for the sake of probiotics. That’s just an added benefit if I get to intake it via regular kimchi consumption. (To me, first and foremost, kimchi is just a delicious and versatile Korean side dish that I enjoy eating and I’m sure many Koreans would think similar way as me.)

      If you’re concerned about killing probiotics, many experts recommend adding it near the end of cooking it to minimize the damage. Though, this will undoubtedly compromise the taste.

      Also, this recipe recommends using “aged kimchi”, which would contain less probiotics to start off with as the peak of probiotics in kimchi is known to be at around the 7-8 day mark once the fermentation begins. (Although there was some conflicting information saying that the peak is at around the 21 day mark. I think this difference may be the result of its storage condition.) Anyway, once the peak is passed, the probiotics start to decrease making the kimchi even more pungent.

      Regardless of probiotics, I can’t imagine myself eating aged kimchi raw as it will develop a strong sour taste as days go by. That’s why I (and many Koreans) cook aged kimchi to make their dining experience more pleasant. 🙂

      Reply

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