Sunday, 5 October 2008

My miso soup

I never measure anything when I make miso soup, but it always turns out great!

Into a saucepan, crumble up about a half a stick of dried kombu. Throw in 3 dried shiitake mushrooms and cover with boiling water--about 3 or 4 cups. Put the lid on the pot and go and do something for half an hour. You're just letting the kombu and mushrooms soften in the hot water, no heat under the pot.

Come back and take the mushrooms out of the water, remove the stems and discard. Slice the mushrooms thin. Return them to the pot and turn on the heat to medium. Add a packet of dashi powder and a tablespoon or two of mirin. When the stock is very hot, stir in two fat tablespoons of red miso and stir. Turn off the heat and put the lid back on the pot. Push to the back of the stove and go ahead and make your other dishes.

Tonight we had brown rice and barley mixed with courgette, carrot and onion (stir fry), accompanied by bowls of miso soup. You could put strips of pan-fried tofu over the rice in the bowl, but we had veggie sausages for lunch and didn't need any tofu. If you wanted to make it a complete Japanese meal, add a tiny dish of pickled vegetables, a couple of side vegetables and a cup of green tea.


Anna Down Under said...

I've got several recipes that call for Kombu but I have not been able to find any here. What does it add to the soup? I'm wondering if I made the recipes without it, would it make a big difference?

Carla said...

Kombu is a pretty important flavour component. Particularly if you're doing vegan versions, the only flavouring in the soup is kombu and shiitake mushroom. (The traditional Japanese soup stock, dashi, is made of water, kombu, shiitake and dried bonito (fish) flakes.) So it is worth it to seek out kombu. Order a box online. It goes a long way!

Bethany said...

thanks for all the great info and the recipe. I always wondered why my miso soup at home tasted so blah - even when I follow somebody elses recipe. At a restaurant, it always seemed to have this secret ingredient (I make sure it's vegan).

Anna Down Under said...

I found kombu today! There is a new fruit & veg market in town and it's really big -- plus they carry heaps of things I have never seen anywhere else in Australia. I was thrilled to find all kinds of dried beans because some I've had to order online here. I bought a huge bag of black beans and some pinto beans too. Then I wandered around to another aisle and there were Asian foods, and found Kombu there! Now it does appear to be dried, but it's not a stick. They appear to be flat sheets in a bag. Will those work?

Carla said...

That's great! Yes, sheets will be fine. Just break it into small bits for a total of about 2-3 tablespoons dried. That stuff really grows in hot water! You don't want too much. After you make it the first time you'll be better able to gauge how much to throw in for your taste. It is a very subtle flavour, but it gets quite large in the water and has a chewy-ish texture.