Miso soup with home-made dashi & extra vegetables

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I love a miso soup and have been having it a lot recently; Ross has started doing a lot of Japanese cooking so I cannot be outdone. Here is a quick recipe for it, along with making your own dashi. You can of course buy packet dashi but this is much better – who knows what goes in the sachet? First you need to find an oriental supermarket, though Waitrose do have some of these things. There is a great new one just by Camden tube in Parkway.

Dashi is Japanese stock, and it is a fundamental ingredient in many Japanese dishes.  Miso soup is NOT miso soup without dashi. You can make a whole lot of dashi, it will keep for a week in the fridge, and you can also freeze it, if you want to make miso soup everyday, but the soup part needs to be made fresh each time.

Its fun to experiment with miso soup, so below I have listed some added ingredients that the Japanese use and when and how they should be added. I love adding spinach, shitake mushrooms and wild garlic, plus the obligatory silken tofu and spring onions. Then its a meal in itself.

Dashi (for 2 large or 4 small servings)

  • oz kombu (dried kelp) (10 g/4″ x 4″ OR 10 cm x 10 cm)
  • 3 cups katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) (30 g/1 oz)
  • 4 cups water (roughly 1 litre)

Miso soup

  • 2 cups dashi (2 cups = 500 ml)
  • Ingredients of your choice (see the post)
  • 2-3 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 spring onion (finely chopped)

Method

First make the dashi. Soak the kombu in the water for 30 minutes to 2-3 hours. I use boiling water and do it for the shorter period as there’s never enough time! Then bring it slowly up to the boil on medium low heat. You could add root veg at this stage, e.g. carrot or potato, if you wanted. You want to extract umami from kombu, so this can yak dup to 30 minutes. Right before boiling, discard the kombu. If you leave it inside, it gets slimy and leaves a bitter taste.

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soaking the kombu

Add katsuobushibonito flakes and let it simmer for 30-60 seconds. Turn off the heat and let the katsuobushi steep for 10 minutes.

Strain the dashi and it’s  ready to use!  You can save dashi for 3-7 days in the refrigerator and up to 3 weeks in freezer.

Reheat the dashi without letting it boil because it loses flavour and fragrance. Add a small amount of miso at a time to let the miso dissolve completely. Add any green vegetables now, and pre-cooked/blanched root or other vegetables. At this time of year wild garlic is a fab addition.

Add tofu AFTER the miso is completely dissolved because you might break tofu when mixing in miso.

 

Finally add rehydrated wakame (seaweed). Re-hydrate dried wakame in a separate bowl of water to get rid of excess salt  Add ingredients that do not require cooking such as chopped green onions and yuzu. Serve immediately.

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Here are the key ingredients

Ingredients that can be added to miso soup (blanche vegetables first, not  mushrooms, tofu, wakame, spring onion)

  • Cabbage
  • Bean sprouts
  • Eggplant
  • Okra
  • Spinach
  • Shimeji mushrooms
  • Maitake mushrooms
  • Enoki mushrooms
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Aburaage (deep-fried tofu pouch)
  • Tofu (silken or medium)
  • Yuba (soybean curd)
  • Wakame seaweed
  • Green onions
  • purple sprouting broccoli as in photo

 

 

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