About 5 years ago, I worked for a few months in Copley Square. When I first started the job, I was sick with a cold. I remember walking around on my lunch hour looking for something to eat, but nothing was appealing to me. I wandered into an asian restaurant, and for the low, low price of $1.50 + tax, walked out with a pint of Miso soup. It was just the thing. It warmed me. It nourished me on a day when I just didn't feel like eating, but needed the energy. There were many more purchases of the stuff in the 7 months I worked there. And ever since, I have tried all the instant miso soup packets and bowls, but never found one that made me want to keep on buying. So this past weekend, in an effort to eat healthier, I braved the local Asian market (Saigon Market on Maple St. for the locals). I spent almost an hour in there examining all the goodies for sale. Alot of the labels were not in English, but some things I could guess at by sight. Some of the translations are fun as well. So I picked up a package of red Miso and was delighted to find a recipe on the back of the package. It called for something called Dashi stock. I figured that was something that came ready made, like chicken stock or vegetable stock. They were really busy that day, and the whole language barrier made it hard for me to convey what it was I was looking for, so I came home and did some Googling. Another trip to the A-Market on Monday, and I had all the ingredients. I just now made a batch and it is delightful.
Here is my recipe:
First, make the Dashi stock.
5-6 cups of hot water in saucepan
Soak a 5-6 in piece of Kombu for 10 minutes, then remove (I ended up tearing off a few small pieces and putting it back in)
Add 1/2c. Bonito Flakes (it's dried fish and I thought it would be disgusting, but it's not)
Bring to a boil and simmer until the Bonito sinks to the bottom.
I then took a large bowl, placed a metal collendar on top lined with a piece of paper towel, and strained the broth. Listen, my little kitchen is right out of the 70s, virtually no counter space, 20 year old set of pans, but I turn out some pretty marvelous food with just the basics.
Next I cut up a brick of firm tofu into 1 in. cubes. (note, next time I would use 1/2 as much).
Put tofu into the Dashi stock and brought to a gentle boil. Turned down heat to med/low and simmered for a few minutes.
Next I took 3 heaping tablespoons of Red Miso and put them in a little bowl. When I was ready to add the miso, I first took some of the soup from the pot and mixed it into the Miso paste. Then I added this into the soup pot along with a few thinly sliced small pieces of Kombu, a handful of dried Black Fungus (mushrooms) from the Asian market, and about 1/4 c. sliced green onions.
It's a little salty and I think next time I will use 2 Tablespoons of Miso and see if that makes a difference. I'll also check and see how salty the broth is before adding the Miso, as I may want to leave out the Kombu other than the initial soaking.
But it's reaaaaalllly good!! Yay!