To all of you who are snowed in… this is my attempt to send warm thoughts through the computer screen. It’s not exactly balmy here, but it’s a far cry from the -11 degrees my weather widgets (and text message updates from my mom) are showing for tomorrow’s Chicago’s forecast. Yikes…
This soup is full of warming healing ingredients (shiitakes, ginger, miso, etc)… and would be the perfect thing if you’re under the weather… figuratively or quite literally.
- a piece of dried kombu, about 2x3 inches
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups dashi
- 1/2 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 6 oz. soba noodles (100% buckwheat if gluten free)
- 3-4 tablespoons white or shiro miso
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions
- 1/2 cup tofu cubes (firm tofu)
- 4 baby bok choy pieces, coarse stalks thinly sliced
- a few teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
- shichimi or a pinch of chile flakes (optional)
- sprinkling of bonito flakes (optional)
- ponzu, on the side
- Make the dashi: gently rinse the kombu piece. Place it in a medium pot with 4 cups water. Gently simmer for 10 minutes. Don’t let it boil, or the kombu flavor will turn bitter. Once the kombu piece is soft, remove it and bring the water to a boil for just a few minutes.
- Add your soba noodles, then reduce heat again and add in 1/2 cup more water. (It should be just below boiling, you don’t want the miso to boil). In a small bowl, stir the miso paste together with some of the hot dashi water (until it’s not clumpy), then stir to incorporate it into the soup broth.
- Add the ginger, scallions and shiitakes, and gently simmer for about 10 more minutes or until the soba noodles are cooked through. In the last few minutes of cooking time, add the tofu and bok choy.
- Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Remove from heat once the bok choy is wilted but still has some bite.
- Top with shichimi and bonito flakes, (both optional), and serve with ponzu or extra soy sauce on the side.
Note: some miso pastes can be saltier than others, start by adding less and add more to taste. If you over-salt, add more water.
Find kombu at asian markets or high-end grocery stores. Or online here.
Adapted from Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art, by Shizuo Tsuji