When living in Saigon, I was fortunate enough to reside in the Japanese quarter in a residence called Bon Bon. Wandering the streets provided all number of Japanese eateries and the food was delicious, highly nutritious and affordable. My lovely friend Mandy Hall provided some fermenting inspiration this week and so I made a trip to the Asian markets to stock up.
As I develop soup content for us that are affected by head and neck cancer treatment, I am scouring the world for inspiration. Whilst we can’t travel, a trip to my local Asian market provided some much needed respite from the four walls.
A simple broth as the basis for my miso soup. This soup is particularly good if you are feeling unwell and want something gentle on your stomach, drink it much like you would a cup of tea or coffee. Traditionally served with steamed rice, so if you can manage rice the two combined make a light easily digestible meal.
This broth forms the basis for miso soup, to which I add fish balls, tofu and vegetable.
Miso is rich in essential minerals and a good source of various B vitamins, E, K and folic acid. A fermented food, miso provides the gut with beneficial bacteria.
Miso soup is essentially the miso paste ( comes in a container of which there are many varieties, I lean towards white) blended in to this hot broth. It’s a real soup hug.
2 cups of water
2 inch piece of kombu (dried kelp)
½ cup loosely packed dried bonito flakes
Measuring cups and spoons
Fine mesh strainer
Warm the water with the kombu in it until it just about boils and then remove the kombu. (Don’t boil it as it will make the liquid bitter and slimy.)
Remove the kombu as the water comes to the boil, add the bonito flakes and simmer (rapid) for about a minute. Take the saucepan off the heat and let the bonito steep in the liquid for an additional five minutes.
Strain the broth. Strain the bonito flakes from the liquid. At this point if you need more liquid pour water through the strained bonito flakes to make up the 2 cups.
Use or store the broth.
Note: if you want a more deeply flavoured dashi, steep the kombu in the water overnight before continuing with the recipe.