Monday, 11 June 2012

Miso Soup with Shimeji Mushrooms

A slightly bulked-up variant on my previous miso soup, as I had a very long day running around getting my Indian visa sorted, suffered a flat tire on my bicycle, and had to catch up on nearly a week's worth of email. Helpful husband locked himself out of the house so I needed to put together something fairly quickly. I attempted to follow a recipe, but substituted every single ingredient. Heh.


  • a small handful of dried shitake mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds
  • sesame oil
  • a sweet potato, daikon, carrot, or parsnip
  • 1 tsp dashi or seafood stock powder
  • 3 tbsp of miso paste
  • a couple of pak choi or bok choi, or other leafy Chinese vegetables
  • a block of shimeji or a couple of handfuls of oyster mushrooms
  • two spring onions
  • finely shredded nori (seaweed)

Pour enough boiling water over the shitake mushrooms to cover, and leave for at least ten minutes to fully rehydrate. Dry-fry the sesame seeds until golden, then set aside for later. Peel and cut the sweet potato (or other root vegetable) in half lengthwise, then into fat half-moons (about the only thing I kept from the original recipe). Prepare a wok with a tsp of sesame oil and a tsp of vegetable oil, and a large stock pot or sauce pan with the stock powder in the bottom. Fry the sweet potato in the wok for a few minutes, turning irregularly, so it begins to caramelise. When the half-moons have taken on a golden colour around the edges, tip them into the stock pot, and cover with boiling water. Add the miso paste, shitake mushrooms, and their soaking water (although be careful not to add any grit). Simmer for five minutes - stop as soon as the sweet potatoes begin to yield to a fork.

Meanwhile, separate the leaves from the pak choi, and cut the stalks into diagonal pieces. Stir fry for a couple of minutes, then add to the soup in the stock pot. Separate the shimeji mushrooms with your hands. Turn the wok up to a high heat, then fry the mushrooms for a minute on each side, then add them to the soup. Slice the spring onions lengthwise and roughly chop with the pak choi greens, then add them to the soup. Simmer for a minute or so to bring the soup up to temperature, finish cooking the sweet potato, and wilt the greens, then turn off the heat. Taste and add more miso or a splash of soy sauce if necessary. Serve with the sesame seeds and shredded seaweed scattered over.

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