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Dashi and Miso Soup

Posted on January 24, 2014 at 11:15 PM Comments comments (0)

 


 


When I think about the basic building block of Japanese cuisine, it all boils down to Dashi.  Here is a dashi story I wrote for Zester Daily.   http://zesterdaily.com/world/how-to-make-dashi-for-pumpkin-tofu-miso-soup/

Onigiri and Miso Soup Workshop at 24th Street Elementary School

Posted on March 18, 2013 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (0)


When it comes to cooking classes, I enjoy working with children the most.  Here is a story on the onigiri and miso soup workshop at 24th Street Elementary School in downtown LA. (here is the link)

Hearty Winter Vegetable Soup

Posted on April 14, 2012 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (0)



Sakai bought a large Lodge cast iron black pot to put on top of our wood burning stove. The pot added a lot to the ranch ambience.  Seasoned a couple of weeks ago,  I wanted to use the pot to cook something hearty - like a stew or soup.  Such moment arrived.

     

Yesterday, we've had more than ten inches of snow in Tehachapi.  My neighbor, Deborah, down the road said Tehachapi hasn't had snow like this in two years.  We ventured out into the snow and had ribs  at Red House BBQ for lunch.  A lot of people had the same idea. The restaurant was more crowded than we expected. 




Today, it snowed even more.   All I did today was idly watch the snow fall.  I took a walk down Old Country Road and made a snow man. It was my first snowman in years.   


   

After all the outdoor adventures, feeling almost like a kid again, I suddenly felt really cold, and I wanted to eat something warm.  So came Soup time!  I gathered up the vegetables in the fridge and basket and began chopping them up to make a vegetable soup.  I was in pretty good shape to make a hearty soup because I had made the chicken broth in advance.  (It's a good thing to keep around in the freezer for these moments.)
The soup consisted of kale, carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, zuchinni, spring onions, spanish onion, parsely and garlic.  I let the vegetables simmer for a couple of hours in the rich broth.  I made enough soup to last three days. I also fixed a quick carrot and daikon radish salad with some cilantro, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  I grilled the remaining half of the salmon I had in the fridge and served brown rice onigiri.  It was a warming supper, which is exactly what Sakai needed, after spending most of the day working outside in the snow. 

 


WINTER VEGETABLE SOUP
Serves 6

8-10 cups Chicken Broth (preferrably homemade) Use the chicken broth from the 
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 spring onions, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick, crosswise
2 zuchinnis, sliced 1/4 inch thick, crosswise
3 kale leaves, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and diced 1/2 inch
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced 1/2 inch
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
5 parsley sprigs, chopped for garnish
1/4 cup Olive oil or more, as needed

In a large cast iron pot, use about 1/4 cup of olive oil to saute the vegetables.  Start with the onions. When they soften, add the potatoes, carrots, zuchinnis, kale and garlic and saute over medium heat for about
5 minutes.   Add the broth and bring to aboil. Lower heat and simmer for 2 hours.  Season with salt and pepper.

Serve the soup in bowls and garnish with chopped parsley.  





Miso Soup with Fava Beans, Zucchini and Tofu

Posted on August 13, 2011 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (0)


A warm bowl of miso soup with fava beans, zuchinni and tofu.  This is a simple soup to make, and of course, like all my other miso soups, I have it for breakfast.   You can still find zucchinis and fava beans that are still tender.  When you buy fava beans, make sure the shells are not bruised or browned. Feel the pods and try to find the ones that are firm and large.   I cook the fava beans and pop them out of the shells before I put them to the miso soup.  You can prepare the fava beans a day in advance so you don't have to do the work in the morning, if you are going to serve the soup for breakfast.  You can also serve it any time of the day.

Recipe:

3 1/2 cups Dashi or Dried shitake and konbu seaweed Dashi (go to Basic Broths category on my blog)

3 1/2 to 4 tablespoons Mugi, Koji, white or red miso

1/4 cup, cooked and shelled fava beans

1/4 block -tofu, diced in to 1/4 -1/2 squares

1/2 zucchini, sliced thinly, 1/8 inch thick

1 scallion, sliced thinly, 1/8 inch thick

 

Bring the Dashi and the turnip o a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and add the zucchini for a couple of minutes.

 

In a small bowl, dissolve 3 1/2 tablespoons of the miso paste in a few tablespoons of the warm Dashi. Add the mixture to the saucepan. Taste and add more miso paste, Dashi or water, depending on how strong the soup tastes.

Add the tofu and fava beans and simmer for 1 minute. Turn off heat.

 

Pour the soup into individual bowls. Garnish with sliced scallions.

Serve immediately.




New Years Soup with Mochi - Ozoni

Posted on January 4, 2011 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (0)



   Ozoni

The first week of New Year is Ozoni time. Ozoni is a clear soup composed around a piece of Mochi, which is made with pounded steamed rice.  We drink this soup for good luck along with a dozen other New Years dishes called Osechi-ryori.  The stretchy nature of Mochi symbolizes flexibility and endurance. 

Some people boil the Mochi but I like mine grilled or broiled so you can enjoy both the toasty outer skin and the gooey inside. It's the same idea as grilling marshmallows.  When I was a child, the grown ups told me to eat as many mochi as our age. I couldn't do that today!   

For the clear soup, I make a large batch of basic dashi, using bonito flakes and konbu seaweed. It's enough soup to last me a week. You can make Ozoni with a variety of ingredients.  Bright colors, especially red, like a piece of shrimp or salmon roe, a slice of carrot is welcome. The only thing red in my Ozoni picture is the red bowl.  That's okay too. Each family and region have their own recipes. My friend Yumiko whose family comes from Kyushu uses miso to season Ozoni. Seafood, such as yellowtail, shrimp and crab are popular in Ozoni. I make my ozoni with mochi, small pieces of chicken, greens such as spinach or komatsuna, sweet peas, and a slice Kamaboko, fish cake. The morsels are thoughtfully arranged for visual appeal.  I put a yuzu peel on top to enhance the fragrance and color of the soup. 

Since Mochi is quite sticky, remember to chew before you swallow!  No kidding.


Recipe:
Serves 4

4 cups of Basic Dashi
1-1.5 teaspoons light soysauce (Usukuchi shoyu)
1 tbls sake
Salt to taste
1 chicken thigh, skin removed and cut into small 1/2 inch morsels
4 sweet peas, blanched
1/4 bunch of spinach or komatsuna, blanched and cut crosswise into 2 inch pieces
4 pieces of grilled or broiled Mochi
4 yuzu or lemon peels

Make the dashi

Blanch the sweet peas. 

Slice the Kamaboko into 1/4 inch slices, crosswise.

Blanch the spinach or komatsuna.  Squeeze out excess water.  Bunch it up and cut crosswise into 2 inch pieces.

Blanch the chicken pieces in hot water to remove odor.  
Add to the dashi and cook the chicken over medium heat.  Add sake, soysauce and salt to taste.
You can do up to this step in advance.

While the chicken is cooking, grill the mochi.  Peel the lemon or yuzu. All you will need is a small sliver per serving.

Heat the broth. Divide the Kamaboko, sweet peas, spinach into four.  When the mochi is grilled, put one mochi in each bowl, together with the other ingredients.  Pour the hot soup half way up the Mochi and put a Yuzu peel for fragrance.

Serve immediately.  Chopsticks are handy for eating this soup.



BESs

BESs

BESs

BESs


Soul of Miso

Posted on November 7, 2010 at 8:32 AM Comments comments (2)


The story of Kenji Tsukamoto was something that I found out of the blue.  I was visiting Sado. Hirahara-san, my guide, mentioned that there was a Koji-ya, a mold-maker, that lived in this town.  Until then, I had never met anyone who made mold for a living.  I was curious.  I asked Hirahara-san to take me to Tsukamoto's shop.  Tsukamoto was not there at first. He had gone to the beach with his grandchildren.  So I went out for a little bite of sushi (delicious by the way).  When I came back later, Tsukamoto  showed me the factory where the miso was made. Tsukamoto  was a"larger than life" person, passionate about  making miso the artisanal way.  He is a fourth generation miso maker.  I  was totally inspired.  I wrote about Tsukamoto and his miso-making for the Los Angeles Times (here is the link) food section.  You will also find recipes and instructions on How to Make Miso.  I even started making my own.   



Sea of Japan



 

Japanese Breakfast - Miso Soup brings me to my comfort zone

Posted on July 29, 2010 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (1)

    

What's a Japanese breakfast?

Good morning!  Did you have a good breakfast this morning?  I did.  Here is a picture of my breakfast and a breakfast story I did for Zester Daily  (here is the link). Have a nice day! 

 

Miso Soup with Peas, Turnip and Pearl Onions

Posted on July 10, 2010 at 12:32 PM Comments comments (0)






We have yet to have a real summer day in Santa Monica.  A cup of coffee is not enough to warm me up in the morning. So here comes the miso soup.  I found some nice fresh peas and pearly onions at the market yesterday. The white pearly onions can be eaten raw. I sliced them into quarters and threw them into my soup along with the peas, turnip, and age-tofu.  No chopsticks here.  The peas sit better in a big spoon. Yummy.

Recipe:

3 1/2 cups Dashi or Dried shitake and konbu seaweed Dashi

3 1/2 to 4 tablespoons Mugi, Koji, white or red miso

1/4 cup, shelled peas

1 age-tofu, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces, crosswise

6 small pearl onions, peeled and quartered

1 baby turnip, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces


 

 

Bring the Dashi and the turnip o a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer for a couple of minutes.  


 

 

In a small bowl, dissolve 3 1/2 tablespoons of the miso paste in a few tablespoons of the warm Dashi. Add the mixture to the saucepan. Taste and add more miso paste, Dashi or water, depending on how strong the soup tastes.

 

 

Add the Age tofu and peas and simmer  for 1 minute. Turn off heat.


Pour the soup into individual bowls.

 

Serve immediately.

 

 

 

 



Pumpkin, Tofu, and Green Pepper Miso soup

Posted on July 9, 2010 at 3:31 PM Comments comments (0)






I made this miso soup with the intention of keeping the pumpkin in tact but I got distracted and walked away from the stove. When I returned, the pumpkin had overcooked and was beginning to fall apart, so I mashed them and made a puree, and then seasoned it with miso.  I actually enjoyed the flavor of this pumpkin miso soup. The sweetness of the kabocha puree blended nicely with the dashi.  I added some tofu and chopped green pepper from my garden, and  garnished it with sliced Negi. Sliced scallions will work too. I had this soup for breakfast, then for lunch and the last sip for dinner.


Recipe:

3 1/2 cups Dashi or Dried shitake and konbu seaweed Dashi 

3 1/2 to 4 tablespoons Mugi, Koji, white or red miso

1/4 kabocha pumkin, peeled and sliced thinly, 1/4 inch thick bite size pieces

1/2 of tofu, soft or firm.

1/4 green pepper, chopped

1/2  negi, sliced thinly or 1 scallion sliced thinly


 

 

Bring the Dashi and the kabocha to a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer until kabocha is tender and can be mashed into a puree. You should be able to mash the pumkin with a fork.


 

 

In a small bowl, dissolve 3 1/2 tablespoons of the miso paste in a few tablespoons of the warm Dashi. Add the mixture to the saucepan. Taste and add more miso paste, Dashi or water, depending on how strong the soup tastes.


 

 

Add the tofu and green pepper, and simmer 1 minute. Turn off heat.

Pour the soup into individual bowls.

 

 

Sprinkle each bowl with negi.  Serve immediately.

 

 

 

 


Miso Soup and Bagels for Breakfast

Posted on June 1, 2010 at 11:14 AM Comments comments (0)




Good morning! It's nice to have a wholesome breakfast from time to time. Wholesome, it's been.  I've been eating bagels 3 days in a row. This is the last one, accompanied by two beautiful eggs and miso soup.  I used turnip, fresh Meiji tofu, scallions and wakame for the soup.  (here is the link to the recipe, which is made with Napa cabbage and enoki mushrooms. Just slice up some turnips and use them in the place of the napa cabbage and mushrooms).

Miso Soup with Tofu and White Vegetables

Posted on May 3, 2010 at 1:42 PM Comments comments (0)


  


Chicken soup helps with a cold. Miso soup has the same medicinal effect but it much easier to put together than chicken soup, especially when your sick neighbor needs a quick boost. My neighbor Ellen hadn't eaten well in two days, and was planning to go to the market to buy some soup after our routine walk.  I said. No, don't do that.  I will make you some miso soup.

 I made the soup from scratch in less than fifteen minutes.  First,  the bonito based dashi broth.  While I waited for the dashi to cook, I checked my fridge and found vegetables to make a Winter Nabe, but made this soup instead.  I sliced the tofu, turnip, enoki mushrooms, napa cabbage and green scallions.  I used a white miso paste to match the white winter vegetables.  It's actually early summer for us here in LA but the farmers are still producing these winter vegetables.  The miso soup came out delicious. You don't see the wakame in this picture but I put some in the soup to give Ellen an extra  mineral boost. She mailed me the next morning to say, "No more chicken soup for me!"  She's turned Japanese. 


RECIPE:

Serves 4

 

3 1/2 cups Dashi or Vegan Dashi

3 Tbls or more of Miso (white or saikyo miso) to taste

1-2 teaspoon or more of of Usukuchi-light colored soysauce to taste

1/2 bunch of enoki mushrooms

2 turnips, peeled and sliced thinly, 1/8 inch thick

1/2 tofu, medium or soft, cut into small cubes, about 1/4 inch

1 leaf, napa cabbage, sliced in to bite size pieces, about 1 inch square in sizze

1/2 cup hydrated wakame (optional)

1 tbls chopped chives or scallions


 

Bring the Dashi to a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Put the napa and turnip and simmer for 3 -4 minutes.

Add the enoki mushrooms, tofu, wakame and cook for another minute.

 

In a small bowl, dissolve 3 1/2 tablespoons of the miso paste in a few tablespoons of the warm Dashi. Add the mixture to the saucepan. Add the soysauce. Taste and add more miso paste, Dashi or water, depending on how strong the soup tastes. Turn off heat.

 

Pour the soup into individual bowls. Ganish with scallions or chives.


Serve immerdiately.  Do not boil the soup.





Nanakusa-gayu - Rice Porridge with Seven Herbs

Posted on January 7, 2010 at 8:03 AM Comments comments (0)
Nanakusa Gayu


Seven herbs - nanakusa 

I don't think I have ever eaten as many good luck foods as I did this year. On January 7th, there was yet another occasion.  The Japanese celebrate the Festival of Seven Herbs, Nanakusa no Sekku. This is a new years custom of eating a rice porridge with seven-medicinal herbs to bring good health and longevity. 

The chosen herbs go by their ancient names and used mostly for this occasion, so it's hard to remember all of them by heart. Even my father could only name three but when the festive day arrives, you find out.

Seri, Japanese parsely
Nazuna - Shephard's purse
Gogyo - Jersey Cudweed
Hokobera - Common chickweed
Hotokenoza - Nipplewort
Suzuna - turnip
Suzushiro - daikon radish

The seven herbs sold in packages.

The recipe for making the porridge is quite easy.  You can start with day-old rice or fresh cooked rice.  Put the rice in a medium size saucepan and add four to five times the amount of water.  Simmer the rice for forty minutes until it becomes like a soft oatmeal in its consistency. The porridge is seasoned with salt and soysauce. The seven herbs are added, just before serving.  

My eight year old nephew took one look at the porridge I made and said it reminded him of the emergency food that he got at his school's earthquake drill.  He was referring to the ready made porridge that came in the earthquake kit.  Porridge is not something he eats that often at home.  But when he tasted mine, he liked it a lot, and even asked for seconds.  

After a couple of weeks of heavy holiday eating, this simple vegetarian rice porridge is easy to digest and very refreshing.

If you do not have these Japanese herbs, come up with your own lucky seven.  Japanese also make do with what they can find locally.  Think of a combination such as dill, mint, coriander, basil, parsely, chervil, baby spinach, mizuna, kale and baby radish, carrots and turnips. The idea is to choose young green sprouts and roots that bring vibrancy to your life. You can serve this dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I served this as an appetizer before dinner on January 7. It was a hit.  I can eat this porridge all year around.

RECIPE: NANAKUSA GAYU- Rice porridge with Seven Herbs 
Serves 6

1 package of Nanakusa or a handful of herbs of your choice, including baby radishes and turnips
2 cups cooked white short or medium grain rice
8 -10 cups of water 
salt and soysauce to taste, about a 1/2 teaspoon of each.

Wash the herbs and roots. Cut the root ends. Blanch them in hot water for a minute.  Drain.

In a medium saucepan, bring the rice and water to a boil. Then turn heat to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes, until the consistency of the rice becomes thick and porridgy like a soft oatmeal.  Some people like their porridge, Okayu, thick; some like it thinner.  This is a matter of preference. Be careful not to burn the rice. You can add more water if it gets too thick.

Add the nanakusa and serve immediately with salt and soysauce for those who like a stronger flavor.


Note: Don't overcook the herbs or they will loose their vibrant green color.  

Menu suggestions: This Okayu (generic word for rice porridge) is traditionally served as a hearty Breakfast dish with pickles.  But you can also serve it anytime of the day.  Some consider Okayu as Japanese comfort food.

Miso Soup with Mushrooms, Tofu and Mitsuba

Posted on November 30, 2009 at 12:43 PM Comments comments (0)

Shitake, Enoki and Tofu Miso Soup with Mitsuba

I still have some beautiful vegetable stock left over from the Butternut Squash soup I made for Thanksgiving.  Both the stock and the soup came from Thomas Keller's recipes in his Buchon Cookbook.  It took more than 5 lbs of leeks, onions, fennel and carrots to put the stock together and more vegetables, including the butternut which was partially roasted, to make the soup. But it was well worth the effort because everyone loved it. I used this left over stock to make miso soup this morning.  I hesistated to put miso in it at first, thinking that the scent of fennel, thyme, garlic, sage might be overwhelming in a miso soup but on the contrary, it came out delicious. This soup can also be made quickly with any fresh vegetable stock of your choice or regular dashi, using dried Bonito flakes and Kombu.  I used Mitsuba, as a garnish.  Mitsuba is a very refreshing Japanese herb. It has hints of mint, parsely, celery and chervil. You can find Mitsuba at the Japanese markets all year around.   

RECIPE:
Serves 4

3 1/2 cups Dashi or Vegan Dashi  
3 Tbls or more of Miso (Mugi Miso or Koji Miso) to taste
1/2 bunch of enoki mushrooms
2 shitake mushrooms, halved and sliced thinly, 1/8 inch thick
1/2 tofu, medium or soft, cut into small cubes, about 1/4 inch
1/2 bunch chopped mitsuba leaves or 3 tbls chopped chives

Bring the Dashi to a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Put the tofu and the shitake mushrooms and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Add the enoki mushrooms and cook for another minute.


In a small bowl, dissolve 3 1/2 tablespoons of the miso paste in a few tablespoons of the warm Dashi. Add the mixture to the saucepan. Taste and add more miso paste, Dashi or water, depending on how strong the soup tastes. Turn off heat.


Pour the soup into individual bowls.

 


Serve with chopped mistuba or chives.



Dissolve the miso paste with some dashi before you add
it to the soup.

Tororo Kombu Soup with Umeboshi

Posted on November 28, 2009 at 12:08 PM Comments comments (4)


Tororo Kombu, sliced negi and umeboshi

Yesterday, I was still feeling full from the Thanksgiving feast.  Since there are no leftovers except for the one reject apple pie that stayed home, I am almost back to my regular eating pattern.  I made a tororo kombu soup for breakfast this morning.  The combination of the slightly vinegary taste of tororo kombu and the salty umeboshi has a calming effect on the tummy.  It was delicious.


Tororo Kombu Soup with Umeboshi

RECIPE:

31/2 cups Dashi or Vegetarian Dashi
4 small umeboshi, pitted and minced, about 3 1/2 teaspoons 
3 tbls sliced negi or scallions
4 tbls tororo kombu
3 tbls sake
1 tbls mirin
1 tsp soysauce

Remove the pit and mince the umeboshi.  The citric acid
in umeboshi helps digestion.

The tororo is one fine lumpy mass of kombu so cut and separate it into bite size pieces.  
In a saucepan, bring dashi over medium heat.  Add the sake, mirin, and soysauce.  Simmer for a couple of minutes.  Turn of heat and add the tororo kombu, minced umeboshi and sliced negi or scallions.  Gently mix the soup a couple times to incorporate  all the ingredients.  The soup is slimy but amazingly good. (yes, it looks like I scooped algae out of a pond!)  Serve it in small bowls.   


Tororo kombu in its hydrated form.


Kabocha Squash Soup Made With Dashi

Posted on November 25, 2009 at 5:04 PM Comments comments (0)


Kabocha squash soup made with dashi and garnished
with shiso

It turns out that I don't have to worry about the turkey this year. Our friends Kathy and Russ invited us for Thanksgiving.  I offered to make a couple side dishes: a soup and a pie.  Later, it dawned on me that my entire Thanksgiving assignment rested on two side dishes that start and finish the festive meal.  Maybe I should relax about it but when my pie crust wasn't coming together like it should, I was on skype asking my pastry chef sister Fuyuko in Tokyo for advise. She had a quick answer.  Dump the dough, and start all over again......oh, well, I still have another day to improve on my crust making skills.  As for the pumpkin soup, I am doing much better.  I went to my cookbooks shelf and picked out Thomas Keller's Buchon cookbook and decided to make his Butternut Squash Soup.  I have made it twice already. It came out very tasty both times but I omitted the honey from his recipe the second time because the butternut was naturally sweet. Now I am on a roll with squash. This morning for breakfast, I made a different  soup with Kabocha squash, using dried bonito flakes and kombu based dashi stock.  Unlike Keller's recipe, which easily takes about five pounds of vegetables, including leeks, carrots, fennel to make the perfumy vegetable stock, and more vegetables to finish the soup, the dashi took less time and just a couple of ingredients to put it together, and its savoriness worked very well with the kabocha.

Kabocha squash - a heavy six  pounder

This kabocha squash however, was not as sweet as the butternut squash I used in Keller's recipe.  I added some mirin and honey to give the squash some depth of flavor.  The honey gave it a slight caramel taste, which I liked.  Here is how to make my kabocha squash soup in case you are looking for a tasty fat free soup to serve on Thanksgiving or to enjoy for breakfast as I did. There is some Thomas Keller influences in the garnish.

Tomorrow, I have to roast a pumpkin to finish Keller's soup.  I am praying that my apple pie turns out well.  The raisins for the pie are soaking in the rum but they are slowly disappearing.  They are irresistible. Can't wait for tomorrow to come.

RECIPE:
Serves 4 

2 lbs kabocha squash (about 1 small kabocha squash), peeled and cut into 3 inch pieces. 
31/2 cups Dashi broth (here is the link
1 tbls soysauce to taste
1 tbls mirin 
1-2 tsp honey to taste 
2 pinches of salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Garnish: 2 shiso leaves, chopped or 2 tbls chives, chopped
Additional garnish: Creme fraiche and Olive oil (optional)

Peeling the pumpkin can be tedious but worth the trouble.
For this soup, peel all the skin.

Cook the cut kabocha squash pieces in the dashi for 12-15 minutes, or until the kabocha pierces easily with a fork.  Add the soysauce, mirin, a pinch of salt and pepper, and mix them into the soup. Put the kabocha and the seasoned dashi in a food processor or blender to make a puree.  Now taste the soup.  If it needs to be sweeter, add a teaspoon of honey or two.  This will depend on the pumpkin's natural sweetness and your palate. Adding another pinch of salt or two will also intensify the flavor.  You can put the soup through a fine strainer for a creamier finish. If the soup is too thick, add more dashi.

To serve, ganish the heated soup with chopped shiso or chives.

Optional serving method: For a richer soup, you can drop a teaspoon of creme fraiche with a pinch of chopped shiso or chives on top, and drizzle some extra-virgen olive oil. Thomas Keller does this with his butternut squash soup, and it works with this kabocha soup too.  

Shimeji mushrooms and Tofu Miso Soup

Posted on November 6, 2009 at 5:13 AM Comments comments (0)





With so much going on around the house, my routine breakfast was interrupted for awhile.

I often found myself eating just a piece of toast and that was it for breakfast.  It's so much healthier to start the day with a bowl of miso soup.  I made it this morning with shimeji mushrooms and tofu.  I have some Negi, Japanese scallions, left over from the soba workshop.  I still picture  Akila Inouye slicing the Negi in mid-air.  The flavor of those uncrushed sliced negi was truely amazing.  



Akila's cut negi, soaking in water


RECIPE:

Serves 4


3 1/2 cups Vegan Dashi or Dashi

3 1/2 to 4 tablespoons Mugi, Koji, white or red miso or a combination of any two

1 package shimeji mushrooms, ends removed (about a cup)

1/2 square of soft tofu,


 

Bring the Dashi to a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Put the tofu into the dashi.  Break it up with a ladle.  Add the mushrooms  and simmer for a couple of minutes.


 

In a small bowl, dissolve 3 1/2 tablespoons of the miso paste in a few tablespoons of the warm Dashi. Add the mixture to the saucepan. Taste and add more miso paste, Dashi or water, depending on how strong the soup tastes. Turn off heat.

 

Pour the soup into individual bowls.


Serve immediately.

 

Optional: You can also add chopped hydrated maitake mushrooms you used to make the vegan dashi.

 


Vegan Miso Soup with Heirloom Tomato, Wakame and Tofu

Posted on October 19, 2009 at 12:51 PM Comments comments (0)

There is a lot going on outside this morning.  Our Oxacan gardner, Eddie, and Sakai are sanding and painting the patio. I am happy that the patio is finally getting a make-over but boy, is it noisy. I still practiced my morning ritual  of making soup, using for the first time, my homemade dried Maitake mushrooms to make a vegetarian dashi.  I could have discarded the mushrooms after making it but they were too precious. I chopped the mushrooms up and put them in the miso soup for additional texture. They are chewy and tasty but some people might find them on the rubbery side. The same texture can be said about kombu seaweed, which was used to make this vegan dashi. I sliced it up and ate that too.  It's a great source of fiber and minerals.  


RECIPE:

3 1/2 cups Vegan Dashi or Dashi 

3 1/2 to 4 tablespoons Mugi, Koji, white or red miso or a combination of any two

1 tomato, cut in quarters, and then slice each quarter crosswise into 1/2-inch thick pieces

2 tsp wakame seaweed, hydrated and cut into bite size pieces

1/2 square of soft tofu, cut into 1/4 inch squares


 

Bring the Dashi to a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer.  Add the hydrated wakame seaweed, tomatoes and tofu and simmer for a couple of minutes.  

 


In a small bowl, dissolve 3 1/2 tablespoons of the miso paste in a few tablespoons of the warm Dashi. Add the mixture to the saucepan. Taste and add more miso paste, Dashi or water, depending on how strong the soup tastes. Turn off heat.


 

Pour the soup into individual bowls.

 

Serve immediately.


Optional: You can also add chopped hydrated maitake mushrooms you used to make the vegan dashi. 


Miso Soup with Corn, Napa Cabbage and Spinach

Posted on October 18, 2009 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)


I hear from my friends in New York that it's like December weather over there.  Here in LA, we are back to summer again. I bought some corn from a local farmer who told me that corn is still good.  I didn't eat much corn this summer but the two times that I ate it, they were fantastic. Corn is delicious in miso soup.  I shucked a whole corn and put it in the breakfast miso soup with some spinach and napa cabbage.  I had two servings. 

   
   Still in season?

 


RECIPE

Serves 4

3 1/2 cups Dashi (see BASICS for Dashi broth recipe) or Dried Maitake Mushroom Dashi (here is the link for the recipe)

3 1/2 to 4 tablespoons Mugi, Koji, white or red miso

1 corn, shucked

3 spinach leaves, sliced thinly, 1/4 inch thick

2 napa cabbage leaves, sliced thinly, 1/4 inch thick

2 green onions, sliced thinly


 

Bring the Dashi and the diced potatoes to a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and add the corn and napa cabbage until they are tender, about 2 minutes.


 

In a small bowl, dissolve 3 1/2 tablespoons of the miso paste in a few tablespoons of the warm Dashi. Add the mixture to the saucepan. Taste and add more miso paste, Dashi or water, depending on how strong the soup tastes.


 

Add the spinach and Simmer for 1 minute. Turn off heat.

Pour the soup into individual bowls.


 

Sprinkle each bowl with chopped green onion. Serve immediately.







Satsuma-imo -Fall Miso Soup with Sweet Potato

Posted on October 17, 2009 at 5:14 AM Comments comments (1)

Satsuma-imo, washed and ready
Satuma-imo!  Satuma-Age.  I am cooking lots of things from Kyushu, the Southern Island of Japan. Didn't plan it that way.  Just happened to find a box full of Satsuma-sweet potatoes at the entrance of Nijiya Market and had to get some.  They are similar to sweet potatos but milder in flavor.  Yaki-imo, roasted satsuma potatoes, is a popular street food in Japan.  I don't  make soup with sweet potatoes that often but I wanted to celebrate their arrival.  It's a hearty soup.  I was so full this morning, I skipped lunch.





I cut the sweet potato into 1/4 inch dices

 

 

RECIPE:

 

MISO SOUP WITH SWEET POTATO AND TOFU

Serves 4


 

3 1/2 cups Dashi (see BASICS for Dashi broth recipe) or Maitake Mushroom Dashi (Vegan) 

3 1/2 to 4 tablespoons Mugi, Koji, white or red miso

1/2 satsuma potato or sweet potato, cut in quarters, and then slice each quarter crosswise into 1/2-inch thick pieces (about 1.5 cups) 

1 square of soft tofu

2 green onions, sliced thinly


 

Bring the Dashi and the diced potatoes to a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 4 minutes.  


n a small bowl, dissolve 3 1/2 tablespoons of the miso paste in a few tablespoons of the warm Dashi. Add the mixture to the saucepan. Taste and add more miso paste, Dashi or water, depending on how strong the soup tastes.


 

Add the Tofu and Simmer for 1 minute. Turn off heat.

Pour the soup into individual bowls.


 

Sprinkle each bowl with chopped green onion. Serve immediately.

 

 



Miso Soup with Broccoli and Wakame Seaweed

Posted on October 15, 2009 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (3)


 


Did you eat your broccoli today?  Whenever I go away on business, I come back to find a nearly empty fridge at home, except for the vegetable compartment. There is always broccoli that keeps Sakai company. It's a good choice. This flowery green vegetable is a dependable food, packed with vitamins and dietary fiber and it is inexpensive in America.  I say this because the last time I priced a broccoli in Tokyo, I was shocked to find that a "single" broccoli branch can cost as much as $7.  I wanted to make broccoli soup for my Dad but I made pumpkin soup instead.  


At home in California, I feel grateful that I can eat broccoli whenever I want. I like to eat broccoli steamed, with a little sesame oil and soy sauce.  Sometimes, I make a whole meal out of it.  Today, I thought it would be nice to use it in my breakfast soup with wakame seaweed.  Wakame, like broccoli, is loaded with rich nutrients, especially minerals.   Wakame is not as common as broccoli in America but it will be sooner or later. I can vouch for that.



Here is a beautiful broccoli.  You can eat almost every part of it.



I separated the flowers from the stem.



I cut up the stem into small pieces and used them for the soup, too.


I hydrated some cut-wakame seaweed.  It only takes a few

minutes to hydrate into more than triple its original size.


RECIPE


Serves 4

 

RECIPE:

 

Miso Soup with Broccoli and Wakame seaweed


 

3 1/2 cups Dashi (see BASICS for Dashi broth recipe) or Dried Maitake Mushroom Dashi (Here is the link for recipe)

3 1/2 to 4 tablespoons Mugi, Koji, white or red miso or a combination of any two

1 tomato, cut in quarters, and then slice each quarter crosswise into 1/2-inch thick pieces

2 stalks of broccoli, stems cut into small pieces, 1/4 inch thick and flowers separated into bite-size pieces or smaller

2 Tbls wakame seaweed, hydrated and cut into bite size pieces


 

Bring the Dashi to a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Add the broccoli and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the cut and hydrated wakame seaweed.


In a small bowl, dissolve 3 1/2 tablespoons of the miso paste in a few tablespoons of the warm Dashi.  Add the mixture to the saucepan. Taste and add more miso paste, Dashi or water, depending on how strong the soup tastes. Turn off heat.


Pour the soup into individual bowls.

 


Serve immediately.