Oh, we did just fine on the food front. So. Much. Good. Food. (And wine!) But towards the end of our trip I was already making grocery lists and planning meals. Now I’ve been back a week, am finally past jet lag, and very happy to be back on the blog.
Our kitchen is kosher and it was hard to find a package of kombu that I could use, let alone the bonito, dried fish. After reading a ton about kombu and making dashi I decided to leave off the fish and make it only with the dried kelp. I made the dashi by soaking kombu in water and simmering it with a few pieces of ginger and garlic. After the broth was strained, the miso paste was whisked in and transformed it into a deep, flavorful broth.
I’m so happy to have learned how to make this because I often crave soba soup and usually have to venture far to get a fix. While these aren’t ingredients you might have in your kitchen right this minute, once you buy them they last a long time and will make for many warm bowls of soup this very cold winter.
- 4 cups water
- 1 piece of kombu (You can probably find kombu at your local health food store and it runs about $10 for a bag of around 10 pieces or more)
- 2-3 pieces of ginger/garlic cut in large pieces
- 2-2.5 Tbsp of miso paste
- Soba noodles (or your noodle of choice)
- Toppings: Whatever you like (I used bok choy, japanese yam, scallion, shiitake mushroom, tofu, seaweed, and toasted sesame seeds)
- Kombu needs to be gently wiped off before using it. Take a damp paper towel and run in across the top and bottom. Do not scrub or press too hard - you don't want to wipe off all the white powdery stuff. Place your strip of kombu, along with the garlic and ginger, into a pot with 4 cups of cold water and let it soak for an hour.
- Turn a burner to a medium-low heat and place the pot. Let it come very slowly towards boiling but immediately remove it as the water starts to boil. If the kombu sits in boiling water it will make your broth bitter.
- Strain the kombu broth into a clean pot. I used a cheesecloth for a very fine strain. This is now your dashi.
- Prepare your noodles. Cook them according to the package directions, and if you're using soba noodles follow this next step! As your noodles cook, set a large bowl of cold (not ice) water on the side. Once your noodles are done, drain them, and immediately slip them into the bowl of cold water. Now wash your noodles! (Yup!) Using both hands, gently rub the noodles together to help remove excess starch and providing stickiness prevention. This step should take a minute or two at most.
- To add your miso, whisk the 2 Tbsp first with a small amount of the kombu dashi in a separate bowl to make sure you won't have clumping in the big pot. Once it's all blended and broken down, add the contents of miso/dashi bowl into the larger pot and stir it together. Taste. If you need more miso add it now by using the same small bowl to big pot method.
- Now you can begin adding your toppings. Things like boy choy and mushrooms can go in raw and wilt/cook in the broth.
- When you're ready for a bowl of soup, add the noodles first and then pour/ladle soup over. Artfully sprinkle some sesame seeds on top. Admire it. Eat it.