Cooking in Korea: Tortilla Soup

A very important aspect to my survival in Korea has been learning how to create beloved recipes from home in my Korean kitchen. Not always the easiest task with the limited ingredients and language barrier. Today I’ll share my recipe for tortilla soup. The cheese, chicken, and Mexican flavor are so comforting in this chilly, fall weather. Seriously, it’s perfection in a bowl! Not all the ingredients are easy to find (and I didn’t buy everything in Korea), but with my help you’ll easily be able to make your own delicious tortilla soup in Korea–or anywhere!

Sopa de Tortilla

The recipe is pretty loose. I don’t really measure. Feel free to edit ingredients/measurements for taste! I’ve written where I buy my ingredients at the bottom of the recipe.

The Ingredients

The Tomatoes


Fire-roasting is a bit tedious, but I think they make a world of difference. If you choose not to roast the tomatoes, there are Hunt’s whole-peeled plum tomatoes at most large stores (Home Plus). However, I’ve never made the soup with those, so you’re on your own with that one. To fire-roast the tomatoes, I take the wire rack from my toaster oven and put it over the gas burner. I turn on my stove to low or medium-low. I don’t want the flames licking the rack, just below.  I use tongs to place the tomatoes on the rack and to turn the tomatoes when the skin on one side goes black. After the skin around the entire tomato is roasted, I put the tomatoes in a covered bowl. This will assure that all the skin is loosened up and makes peeling easy. I recommend doing the tomatoes first, then doing the broth so that the tomatoes have time to loosen from their skin. When the broth is ready for the tomatoes, peel off the skin, core the tomato with a knife and roughly chop it into the soup. It’s messy, but get it all in. Don’t let the good juices go to waste!

The Chicken

photo (2)

Use 2 chicken breasts. Score the chicken and drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Put each breast in a separate foil pouch. Bake the chicken in your oven (toaster oven is just fine) at 190-Celsius/375-Farenheit. Depending on the size of the breasts, this will take 15-25 minutes. When they’re finished cooking, chop them into small bits and add to the (already completed) broth.

The Broth

Soup Pot

In a large pot, saute 1 chopped onion (red, white, or yellow) and 2 finely chopped, seeded hot peppers (morning gochus) with olive oil. After about 4 minutes, add 1 liter of water. Squeeze in the juice of 2 lemons and be careful not to get any seeds in the soup. They are so nasty to bite into. Add 4 fire-roasted tomatoes. Season the broth with a cube of chicken stock (or however much is necessary for 1 liter of water), garlic powder, and dried cilantro (don’t be stingy with this). Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring this soup to a boil and then let it simmer at least 20 minutes, but longer if you like. When the broth is finished, add the cooked chicken!! Yummmmm. Your place should be smelling so delicioso right about now.

The Garnish*

Tortilla Strips

*These ingredients can be the hardest to find in Korea and there’s no problem in eating your tortilla soup without them.

Slice the tortillas into strips and fry with oil over medium-high heat. You want them browned and crispy! Cube the avocado, and shred the cheese. You can chop the cilantro or leave it whole. Ladle your soup into a bowl and add garnish to your heats desire! I also add Sriracha to the final product. OMG my mouth is watering. Is yours?




Where I bought my ingredients:

Local grocery store

  • Tomatoes
  • Lemon
  • Onions
  • Morning Gochus (Hot Peppers)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive Oil

Larger grocery stores (like Home Plus or Costco)

  • Chicken Breast
  • Cheese (I used Cheddar Jack from Costco)
  • Tortillas (I’ve only found flour tortillas in Korea. You can use them, but I prefer corn tortillas–see below)
  • Avocados (Getting more expensive and may be hard to find come winter)

International Asian mart

  • Cilantro
  • Chicken Stock Cubes (Only 4,000 Won shipping to Korea!)

  • Garlic Powder
  • Dried Cilantro
  • Masa Harina (For handmade corn tortillas!)
  • Sriracha

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