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Dashi, Clear Soup, Miso Soups


(Soup or Broth Base)

In Japan, Dashi is used as the base for clear and miso soups, a dipping sauce for various noodles, or the broth for cooking vegetables.

  • 4 cups water
  • 4 shiitake mushrooms (normally found dried, but fresh work)
  • 6-inch piece dried kombu (seaweed)

Bring ingredients to a boil, reduce to simmer and remove mushrooms and kombu. Remove stems from mushrooms and return to broth, either whole or sliced. (Kombu may be sliced very thin and then boiled until all liquid is gone in a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, sake and brown sugar. Use as a garnish.) Makes 4 servings.

Clear Soup

Add to Dashi base:

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 1/8 cup sake

Add clear soup ingredients and boil for 10 minutes. Adjust flavors, as desired (see tester's note). Add finely sliced vegetables (celery, celery leaves, carrots, spinach, fresh mushrooms, sorrel, tofu). Boil 1 minute and serve.

Miso Soup

To clear soup above, using a mesh strainer held in the broth, (we used a spoon) add to taste: Walnut-size spoonfuls of miso base (found in Oriental or organic markets). Do not boil the miso.

Tester's note: Most miso soup recipes are extremely salty. We used a scant 1/8 cup of mirin and sake, a scant 1/4 cup of soy sauce, and about an acorn-sized ball of miso. It resembled a beef broth-and was fat free.

Although Kyoki Roberts shops twice a month at the East-End Food Co-op, you can find mirin, miso, kombu and shiitake mushrooms at most health food stores. We called Dewalt's Health Food Center in Ambridge ahead of time and they put in a special order for the mirin. Sake is available at the state liquor stores. The total cost will be around $30 for all ingredients, with enough left over for several batches of soup.

To prepare Japanese Boiled Vegetables (a recipe in the cookbook), she uses a stronger concentration of the clear soup in which the vegetables are steamed. For this lunch she used pumpkin and dried burdock, a weed common both here and in Japan.

"Stone Soup" by the Zen Center of Pittsburgh. Recipe originally from the Shogo-ji Monastery on the island of Kyushu, where Kyoki Roberts trained.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

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