Monday, April 20, 2009

Miso soup

I made miso soup for the first time on Friday. It was raining cats and dogs, so soup seemed appropriate. Plus, I had bought miso a while ago and hadn't gotten around to using it yet. I threw in some extras to make it a little more substantial than your standard Japanese restaurant miso soup. Beyond the dashi and miso, everything else is optional, and you can add any other fun extras you want. I don't know very much about miso, and I forgot to write down the kind I used. It was a light brown color. I know each kind has its own flavor but are to some degree interchangeable. Dashi is Japanese kelp stock. It traditionally has bonito fish flakes in it, but I didn't add them. This was my first time making or using it, and I also added some other seaweed to the soup itself. I had only had seaweed in the form of Japanese restaurant seaweed salad, but I bought a bunch of dried seaweed in Chinatown a few months ago and have decided to explore a little bit. So far, so good.

Miso soup (adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman):
1 quart dashi (see next recipe)
1/3 cup miso
8 oz firm silken tofu, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup frozen edamame
1 carrot, cut into small rounds
1/4 cup dry hijiki seaweed, rehydrated in about 1/3 cup warm water for a few minutes

Heat the dashi in a saucepan over medium heat until it's almost boiling. Then scoop out about 1/2 a cup and mix it with the miso. Then add the miso mixture back to the dashi. Toss in the rest of the ingredients, including the water used to rehydrate the hijiki. Let it cook without boiling until the edamame is cooked to your taste.

Dashi (also from Bittman):
2 quarts of water
1 piece of kombu (kelp), about 4-6 inches (I'm a seaweed newbie, and the whole piece looked awfully big to me (about 4x10 inches or so), so I cut it in half, and it seemed to work fine.)

Put the water and dashi in a saucepan over medium heat until almost boiling. Bittman says it takes about 15 minutes. I wasn't paying attention to the time when I made it, so I don't know. I used one quart immediately in the miso soup and froze the other quart for the next batch of soup.

The next day for lunch I had leftover miso soup with spring rolls. I made a dipping sauce for the spring rolls this time: peanut butter, orange juice, rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil, and srirachi (Thai chili sauce), all to taste. I also tossed a couple leftover leaves of lacinato kale (aka dinosaur kale) into the soup. Both were good choices.

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