07 January 2011

Easy kombu dashi

So I was googling around on how to sort out a kombu broth for miso soup. Turns out that all you have to do is soak the kombu in water overnight, and you're set. So I actually tried it. I broke off what I thought was a tiny piece of the kombu kelp, and put it in about 1 1/2 litres of water overnight. The next morning, the thing had grown to fill the container!

I guess I didn't need quite so much. Next time, I'll cut it in half.

Another suggestion I read was to throw in a shiitake mushroom (dried) along with the kombu, and let the lot sit overnight. If you do try this suggestion, please make sure you wash it well. Otherwise you'll end up with a fair bit of grit in the bottom of the container. This goes for the kombu as well. Wash that thing under cold running water, to wash off the excess salt, and clear off any grit that's on the surface.

The point is that the next morning, all I had to do was to heat up the broth, add a tablespoon of miso paste, some sliced scallion (1 stalk), and 1/4 cube of tofu (cut into tiny tiny cubes--it was so cute!), and a touch of salt (I like things salty), and all was right with the world. I always have a pot of piping hot rice, because my rice cooker keeps the rice hot for three days without drying it out. It made a lovely breakfast.

What's even better is some enoki mushrooms put into the bottom of your soup bowl. They cook when you pour the hot miso soup over it.

The Japanese are definitely on to something. On a cold morning like today, when the snow is falling in fat flurries, there are few things as comforting as a bowl of piping hot miso soup, a bit of brown rice, and a couple of nice condiments to round out the meal nicely. It's also super quick to sort out, and fairly filling.