This week’s recipe was something I’ve been looking forward to trying out since I got my copy of Hairy Dieters Go Veggie — vegetarian miso soup!
I’ve been a great one for miso soup ever since I first tried it in a lovely little sushi place in Vancouver, Canada some years ago. The standard recipe, though, calls for dashi stock, which is made using bonito — dried tuna — flakes, and hence isn’t suitable for vegetarians.
This recipe calls for vegetable stock, garlic, ginger and miso paste for the soup base — I’d recommend using low-salt stock cubes if you don’t have the time or resources to make the stock from scratch, as miso paste can run quite salty. I got the ginger from my local Asian food store, which proved to be a good move — a few pence more than I’d have paid at Sainsbury’s, perhaps, but the flavour was much stronger and more interesting than the supermarket ginger.
The vegetable component was chiefly composed of mushrooms — a 100g tub of shiitake and a 200g tub of ‘specialist’ mushrooms (maitake, shiitake, oyster and enoki) covered things pretty well. I have to admit, the enoki mushrooms worried me a little, given that they’re much longer and skinnier than the sorts of mushrooms I’m used to, but they turned out to have a very acceptable flavour and texture. Enoki mushrooms figure in a recipe for beef sukiyaki I have in my collection, so I’ll definitely be casting a close eye over that at some point ^^
The bulk of the rest of the vegetable component was specified in the ingredients list as ‘2 to 3 heads of Asian greens’. I wasn’t certain of what specific vegetable that referred to, so I picked up a bag of pak choi from the Asian food store, reasoning that it has green leafy bits and is Asian. It worked really well! Very easy to chop (even when I absent-mindedly spent a few seconds trying to use the blunt side of the knife…), lovely flavour and it cooked and softened very well, neatly nullifying my worries that the saucepan wouldn’t be able to hold everything.
The end result was pretty darn tasty! The miso was a subtle, savoury background presence while the garlic, spring onions and ginger provided a good kick that stopped everything being too bland. The mushrooms and the dried shredded seaweed I sprinkled on top added some good umami notes.
As an unexpected bonus, I was able to calculate that one teaspoon of miso paste in a standard mug, plus dried shredded seaweed, (maybe) some chopped spring onion and boiling water to fill would make a very acceptable quick miso soup for snack-attack type moments! 🙂