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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.

 


Heirloom Tomato and Tofu Miso Soup

Posted on October 14, 2009 at 12:16 PM Comments comments (0)




Rain at last!  The rain was tapping so hard on the skylight window, it woke me up in the middle of the night.  I got up to make tea. I cleared up the dishes in the dish rack.  I didn't feel like going back to sleep so I started cooking. I  made dashi. Sounds a bit crazy but it is actually nice to work in the kitchen when everyone is sleeping and all you hear is the rain. My mother was worse than me. She used to bake pies in the middle of the night. This morning, I was all set to go with fresh dashi for my miso soup.  The last of my heirloom tomato made the rainy morning cheerful.  





RECIPE:


Miso Soup with Tomato and Tofu


 

 

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

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

1/2 square of soft tofu

2 green onions, sliced thinly


 

Bring the Dashi toa boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer.

 

 

 

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 Tomato and 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 Chinese Cabbage and Spinach

Posted on October 12, 2009 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (0)




I cleaned out my fridge today.  That felt so good.  Sometimes, if I don't pay attention, the fridge can quickly turn into a white hole. Scary. I still have some nice Chinese Napa Cabbage and spinach left over from the Nabe dinner. Just a few leaves in the soup and you feel so healthy.  I seaoned the soup with barley mugi miso. This miso soup was light and comforting. You can also add tofu or wakame seaweed into the soup for extra flavor..


RECIPE


MISO SOUP WITH WITH CHINESE  NAPA CABBAGE AND SPINACH

Serves 4


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

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

1 large leaf of Chinese, Napa Cabbage, washed, and sliced 1/4 inch thick

3 leaves of Spinach, washed, ends trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick

2 green onions, sliced thinly


 

Bring the Dashi to a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer.


Add the Chinese Napa Cabbage let it simmer for a a 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.


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

Pour the soup into individual bowls.


Sprinkle each bowl with chopped green onion. Serve immediately.

 




Japanese Breakfast - I Stand for Goodness

Posted on October 11, 2009 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (0)



I am curious about what people eat for breakfast.  We got to talking about it with my Japanese friends Taku and Keiko the other night. They moved from Japan six years ago and live in Venice Beach. What's interesting is that when it comes to breakfast, Taku wants his bowl of rice, the Japanese way. Rice everyday? I asked him. "Yes, rice everyday. Not bread."  His wife Keiko, on the other hand, prefers a bowl of cereal, the American way.  Not rice. Not bread.  She comes from three generations of a cereal-loving modern Japanese family. Me? I am not big on cereal. They sit in the box and go stale. What about rice? I am partial to having rice for breakfast but I don' eat it as much as I used to when I was a child. My mother often made a wokful of fried rice during the morning rush to feed five children.  I can picture us coming down into the bright lemon yellow Pasadena kitchen and find my mother standing in front of her Kenmore stove dumping Green Giant's frozen vegetable mix and dehydrated onions into the day old rice to jazz up the flavor.  She served the fried rice in plastic Melmac ware that matched the color of the kitchen and the frozen vegetables. What I remember most about her breakfast fried rice was not so much the flavor but the texture of these still frozen squares of carrots and peas.  My teeth would always tingle when I bit into them.


In my adult life, I rarely use Green Giant frozen food in my cooking, even though they say it stands for goodness. I make miso soup and bread for breakfast and my family is happy.  If I do a full on Japanese breakfast of miso soup, steamed rice, grilled salmon, fermented soybean, natto, nori seaweed and pickles, my family is very happy.  I made miso soup this morning, with enoki mushrooms and tofu. We had some natural comb honey, a souvenir from North Carolina, and good butter to spread on the toasted baguette. It was all good. I kind of miss my mother's breakfast fried rice and the tingling sensation I got from eating those green -snappin' fresh, kitchen-sliced to taste the best veggies but what matters most, my mother would agree, is to eat a solid breakfast.  


RECIPE


Miso Soup with Tofu and Enoki Mushrooms


Serves 4


3 1/2 cups Dashi(here is the link) or Dried Maitake Mushrooms Dashi (here is the link to the vegan recipe)

3 1/2 to 4 tbls koji, white or red miso

6 oz soft tofu, drained

1/2 pack enoki mushrooms, ends trimmed

3 green onions, chopped thinly


Bring the Dashi to a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer.  


In a small bowl, dissolve 31/2 tablespoons of the miso paste in a few tablespoons of the warm Dashi.  Add the mixture to the suacepan. Taste and add more miso paste, Dashi or water, depending on how strong the soup tastes.


Add the tofu to the soup.  Break up the tofu in the saucepan.  Add the enoki mushrooms. Pour the soup into individual bowls.


Sprinkle each bowl with chopped green onion.  Serve immediately.  






 


Morning After - Daikon Radish and Age Miso Soup

Posted on October 2, 2009 at 2:09 PM Comments comments (0)




I am feeling a little tired from the show last night. Sakai is still sleeping. I know he is really exhausted.  For an artist though, the work never stops.  Soon he will be back in his studio.  A bowl of miso soup can give us a boost of energy on a morning like this.  


I find a piece of daikon radish and deep fried tofu, Age, left over from making Inaris the other day. I will make a Miso Soup with these ingredients.  Using Deep-fried tofu, Age, in miso soup is very popular.  If you don't have age, you can substitute it with a block of medium or soft tofu.



   


RECIPE:

Serves 4


1 cup daikon radish, peeled and sliced into 1/8 inch matchsticks

2 pieces of Deep Fried Tofu, Age, blanched in hot water  or 1 block of soft or medium tofu

31/2 cups of Dashi (see link for recipe) or Dried Maitake Mushroom Dashi (here is the link for vegan recipe)

3-4 Tbls brown miso

1 scallion, chopped


 

Bring the Dashi to a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer.


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 deep fried tofu and daikon radish pieces to the soup.  Bring to a simmer for 1-2 minutes.  Turn off heat.  Pour the soup into individual bowls.

Sprinkle each bowl with chopped green onion. Serve immediately.


Tip: Once you put the miso into the dashi stock, do not boil the stock but gently simmer

for a couple minutes unitl the miso is dissolved and the soup is heated. Reheating doesn't improve the flavor of miso soup so best if you serve it all at once.

 




 




If you are using age, make sure to blanch it with hot water to

remove excess oil.


I need to start with dashi(here is the link for the recipe)

because I used up my last batch.


Remove the Konbu before the water boils.



Turn off the heat and add the bonito flakes.  Let the broth

stand before you strain the flakes.



Voila!  In less than 5 minutes, you have a lovely dashi broth.




Dissolve the miso paste into the dashi. 


Add the sliced Daikon radish and Deep fried tofu, age, 

and bring to a simmer for a couple of minutes.


Turn off heat and garnish with chopped scallions or chives.


 

Tofu and Myoga Ginger Soup

Posted on August 25, 2009 at 4:42 PM Comments comments (1)

Suimono with Tofu and Myoga 



Whenever I see Myoga at the Japanese Market, I buy a few.   Just one Myoga flower bud can be so refreshing in a soup or with noodles and chopped in a salad.  Myoga is not cheap, about $1-1.50 a bud. I wish there would be a higher demand for this beautiful bud so the farmers here will start growing it.  Myoga  tastes spicy like ginge or scallion but it is more delicate and feminine.  My Grandmother had wild Myoga growing in her garden where the bamboo grew.  We would go into the forested area to hunt for them, which she believed had good medicinal properties.  In fact, Myoga ginger is a popular  yakumi (medicinal condiment), that is commonly used to spice and season Japanese dishes and aid in digestion.

The combination of tofu and myoga in a simple dashi broth is a perfect summer soup.  You can garnish with yuzu or lime rind if you wish.


  

 

 

SUIMONO WITH TOFU AND MYOGA GINGER

Makes  4 servings


2 1/2 cups Dashi broth (See Basics for Dashi broth recipe) or Dried Maitake Mushrooms Dashi (here is the link for the Vegan recipe)

2/3 tsp of salt

1 Tbs Light color soysauce (Usukuchi-Shoyu)

2 Myoga, sliced thinly

2 Tbls  scallion, sliced thinly (optional)

1/2 Tbls Yuzu or Lime rind, very thinly sliced

1/2 Soft silken Tofu


Make the Dashi. You can make Dashi in advance.  See Basic recipe for instructions.

Season the dashi.  Heat the soup but do not boil it.  Turn to a low simmer. 


Slice the tofu in long rectangles or small cubes.  Add the tofu and turn the heat t the lowest.

Let the tofu warm up for a couple of minutes.  Remove from heat.

Pour the soup in individual soup bowls.  Arrange the sliced Myoga, the scallions and

garnish with Yuzu.  Serve immediately.


Note: Reheating Dashi does not improve in flavor.  Make fresh dashi and use it right away for best flavor.



 

Miso soup with Tofu

Posted on August 19, 2009 at 5:20 PM Comments comments (0)









We've had cool weather in LA.  It was perfect weather for the eight mile hike we did up   Westridge fire road last Sunday.  I got my arm stung by a bee as we were coming down the mountain but otherwise, it was nice to be outdoors.  My hiking pal Ellen always asks the same question when we get to the top of the Santa Monica mountains, "So what does this remind you of?" and we all have the same answer,  "TUSCANY!"  (...........without the vineyards!).  See, you don't have to spend all the money or free miles to see Italy.  If you have never done this hike before,  try it.   it's very nice.  You can bring your dog along.


On cool summer days like this, you can have warm soup in the middle of the day and get a nice lift of energy.  I made some miso soup. It only took a few minutes to whip it up since I already had the Dashi broth ready.  Good girl.


For this miso soup, use the freshest tofu you can find.  I love Meiji Tofu.  You don't  have to cut the block of tofu in cubes.  Just put the half or whole block of tofu into the saucepan and break it up with the ladle to get uneven size pieces of tofu.  It is more fun and textural this way.   



MISO SOUP WITH TOFU

 

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 10 minutes

 

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

 

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

 

6 ounces soft tofu, drained 

 

1 green onion, chopped, optional


 

Bring the Dashi to a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer.

 

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 to the soup.  Break up the tofu in the saucepan.

Pour the soup into individual bowls.

 

Sprinkle each bowl with chopped green onion. Serve immediately.


Kabocha Miso Soup with Myoga

Posted on June 9, 2009 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)


The kabocha was sitting on top of my counter for a couple of weeks waiting for me to cook it.  I love kabocha but peeling the thick skin is always a lot of work so I kept putting it off.   But once I make up my mind to cook kabocha,  the process of cutting and peeling is rather meditative. The skin is hard and thick so if you are not careful. I use a Japanese deba-knife, which is also used to cut bones.  It as a nice weight and a thick blade that keeps your hand steady.  


Tonight, I felt like miso soup.  It must be this weather - it can't make up its mind whether it wants to be hot or cold.  In the evening, the temperature gets down enough to want something warm and soupy.  I made this Kabocha miso soup which is light and summery but filling.  I garnsihed it with "Myoga", which is a type of ginger that has a wonderful fragrance and spice.  You can find myoga in Japanese markets at this time of the year. They are a bit expensive, about $2 per myoga. But you don't need to use very much.  It's a garnish that gives it a spicy lift.  As a child, I used to pick the wild ones that grew in the shade of our garden in Kamakura.  I don't think we could grow them in California because it is too dry here.   I like to use chopped myoga not only to garnish miso soup but also on tofu, grilled meats, rice and noodles.



  kabocha sliced with my deba knife. 


KABOCHA MISO SOUP WITH MYOGA GINGER

Serves 4 


  1. In a medium size pot, bring the dashi to a simmer. 
  2. Add the sliced kabocha and cook over medium heat until the kabocha is tender, about 7 minutes.
  3. Just before serving, dissolve the miso paste into the dashi broth. Turn off heat and serve immediately in small bowls with sliced myoga.

Kitchen note: Do not reheat the miso soup after the miso has been added. The flavor diminishes with reheating. So do it last minute.

 


 

 


Turnip Miso Soup with Chives

Posted on June 9, 2009 at 5:23 AM Comments comments (0)











TURNIP MISO SOUP WITH CHIVES


RECIPE


Serves 4 


  1. In a medium size pot, bring the dashi to a simmer. 
  2. Add the sliced turnip and cook over medium heat until the turnip is slightly tender, about 3 minutes. 
  3. Just before serving, dissolve the miso paste into the dashi broth. 
  4. Turn off heat and serve immediately in small bowls with chopped chives or scallions.
  5. Kitchen note: Do not reheat the miso soup after the miso has been added. The flavor diminishes with reheating. So do it last minute.




Fresh Pea soup with Tofu and Wakame

Posted on April 12, 2009 at 2:31 AM Comments comments (0)

'Omame no Sunomono'





FRESH PEA SOUP WITH TOFU AND WAKAME


Makes 4 servings


Imade this soup three days in a row.  Each day, I shucked more peas andthe soup  got prettier.  Tofu and seaweed add nice color contrast andflavor but it's the peas that make the spring statement.

  • 3 cups Dashi stock (see The Basics) or Dried Maitake Mushrooms Dashi (here is the link for the vegan recipe)
  • 1 cups fresh peas, shucked (more if you want)
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 Tbls dried cut wakame seaweed, (approx 1/3 cup reconstituted)
  • 6 oz tofu, silken type
  • 2 Tsp sake
  • 1.5 Tbls Usukuchi soy sauce (LIght color soy sauce)
  • 1.5 Tsp cornstarch

 

Make Dashi.


  1. Reconstitute the dried cut wakame seaweed.  Drain water and set aside.  The cut pieces should be about 1-inch pieces.  
  2. Cut tofu into tiny dice, about 1/8 inch in size and set aside.
  3. Shuckthe peas. Bring water to a boil in a small pot.  Add the peas and adash of salt and bring it to a boil.  Turn off heat. Drain the peas andset aside.
  4. In  a medium size pot, heat the Dashi overmedium heat until it begins to simmer. Lower the heat. Add sake, soysauce, cut wakame seaweed and Tofu.
  5. In a cup, dissolvethe cornstarch with equal amounts of water.  Very gently, add a little soup to the starch mixture and keep mixing it until the starch startsto get thick and gluey.  Add more soup to make mixture thinner.  Slowly add mixture to the soup and stir it in. The soup will become slightly thicker. Taste the soup to see if it needs a little more soy sauce.  Do not over season.  
  6. Add the peas.
  7. Serve immediately in small soup bowls.

 

Note:Once the peas, tofu, and seaweed have been added to the soup, don't reheat the soup over and over.  The color and flavor of the soup willdiminish.