Spicy Kimchi Fish Soup

I can always tell that it’s the summer when my days seem to get longer and filled with even more activity than what feels like normal. I felt like I was running around all weekend and in a way, I was!

Running-wise, I spent Saturday morning running the 5k option at the Nike Run Free event at the Distillery District. Despite my nagging calf pains, I ran watch-free and attempted to treat it like a steady run.  In reality, I ran it faster than I should  have and I didn’t stretch as much as I should have right after.  Don’t worry, I paid for it. :/

On Sunday, I went for a 13k LSD that I tried to run more slowly by joining a slower pace group, but unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried to slow down, I also didn’t want to lose the group (and my way!) so I ended up running much faster than I should have again. When I checked my watch after the run, I saw that we averaged around half a minute faster per km than the intended pace. :/ I definitely felt it afterwards. Not just in my usual “pain-zone”, but my hips were really complaining too.

I can’t even begin to describe how frustrating this whole experience has been! I know it’s all a learning process and that we have to roll with the punches, but it’s so hard to be mentally willing to do something, but physically unable to do it!

After running too fast on Wednesday, I had initially planned to take it easy this past weekend. Unfortunately, I think I went out too fast on both days (a visit to the Physio on Monday confirmed this) despite my best efforts and I ended up limping the rest of the weekend away. Definitely, not fun! I started panicking because it’s still only the first month of marathon training and I’m already having trouble running and performing “normal” activities (e.g. you couldn’t pay me to pick up and run across the street before the light turned red). To calm my nerves and get some advice, I went to see my physio on Monday night to get her professional opinion. In retrospect, my panic may have been premature, but she told me that I likely went out too hard last week after only taking one week off since the Ottawa Half-Marathon (which I ran with an injury).

Initially, she advised me to complete all of the scheduled runs on my own this week at a much lower intensity but then she changed her mind and advised me to stay off my feet and cross-train instead all week instead. So that’s the plan this week. Still working out the kinks in my training schedule while I try to integrate at least two weight-lifting sessions somewhere between running and aerobic cross-training.


Fuel-wise, my weekend (including Friday) was full of delicious VOO breakfasts, fresh homemade salads, Rosedale pizza, and Korean food.


By Sunday  night, I was aching for a home-cooked meal as I had done a lot of eating out all weekend (and don’t even get me started on how many chips, cupcakes and cookies I consumed on Saturday at a friend’s birthday party!). Determined to make do with what was already in the kitchen without having to go out buy more ingredients, a delicious Spicy Kimchi Fish Soupwas born.

Amounts in recipe are approximate – it was one of those “a little bit of this, a little bit of that” type of soups, but the end result was out of this world. Really.


Spicy Kimchi Fish Soup


  • 1/2 c prepared kimchi, already sliced
  • 2-3 tsp kimchi juice
  • 1 c chicken broth
  • 1/2 a small onion, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp spicy garlic sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3-4 cups fresh spinach
  • 3 sole fillets
  • water (amount varies according to taste)
  • sesame oil, to taste


  • Combine kimchi, kimchi juice, chicken broth, onion, garlic sauce, and sugar into a pot and add water until all ingredients are fully covered in a large pot. Cover, bring to a boil, and then simmer for around 20-25 minutes.
  • Add fresh spinach and allow it to cook down with soup.
  • Add the three sole fillets and allow to cook for another 5-10 minutes. Break apart the sole once it’s cooked.
  • Serve with a few drops of sesame oil – don’t forget this step! It really finishes off this amazing soup.

I enjoyed my soup with some brown rice that my sister and I made with a clay pot so that the rice on the bottom formed a nice crust that was delicious with the soup. The soup was spicy, filling, and so comforting. I don’t care that summer’s here – I’ll be making this hot and spicy soup again in the very near future!

Apologies for the horrid lighting in this picture! It’s a tragedy really, because it was such a gorgeous soup!

Use this recipe as a guide and substitute to your heart’s content! Why not substitute tofu instead of sole? Or add in some juicy shrimp. You could always add different vegetables too – spinach was what happened to be on hand! You could also  use all water instead of chicken broth – in this case, there was a lone cup of chicken broth left in the fridge begging to be used so in the soup it went. 🙂


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6 thoughts on “Spicy Kimchi Fish Soup”

  1. You are doing great! Don’t let your thoughts get you down. You will do the marathon and you will do great!

  2. Hi Alison,
    I envy and admire you for your stamina. You have done everything right and the physiotherapist is helping you. It seems you have over stressed your leg muscles and remember muscle injury usually takes 6 weeks to heal . You must be patient and use your discretion to rest and re train your muscles with professional guidance. Also the best way to lose weight is not aerobic exercises but gentle mixed with pace walking to burn off the belly fat.

    I lke the kimchi soup as I have just returned from Korea. It’s healthy and tasty. For unknown reasons kimchi has some unique properties to boost the natural immunity. That is why no Korean was affected by SARS during the epidemic a few years ago.

    Keep up your healthy habit . We and all your friends in Hong Kong are missing you .

    Your mom just drew me a portrait that made me 20 years younger. I am grateful that she was in good mood and did not make my head bald as she threatened she might do if I did not behave and keep still during the live drawing session.

    1. Thank you, Uncle Hilary for commenting and for your advice! I am trying to take things easy and to ease into training slowly.

      I also love kimchi. Now that I know about its ability to boost natural immunity, I will gladly eat it more often!


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