The inspiration for this soup comes from a recipe I found in the vegan masterpiece Veganomicon.  I have been making it for lunch for my daughter and I all week and we can’t get enough of it.  It is very quick and made with just a few ingredients — most of which you can have on hand in case of a miso soup craving.  So, to start out, soak some dried shiitake mushrooms in hot water for 20-30 minutes.  Take the mushrooms out of the water — reserve the shiitake soaking water (i.e. shitake broth).  Squeeze the water out of the mushrooms and slice the mushrooms.

Then, you put about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pot.  Add the mushrooms (sliced), a chopped leek (or red onion), 3 cloves of minced garlic, some minced ginger.  I love fresh ginger so I put a lot of it in the soup; but, you can add as much as you like.  Let the vegetables get soft and the mushrooms get golden brown.

Add the shiitake soaking liquid, a tablespoon of mirin, and three tablespoons of white miso.  Let that simmer for a few minutes.  Then, add some chopped kale or chard or whatever green you like and the udon noodles — simmer for a few more minutes.  You can also add cubes of extra firm tofu at this point.  This is optional.  I have had this soup with or without tofu — both are good.  Then (if you like some added spice) serve with a bit of crushed red peppers flakes or Japanese shichimi togarashi (7 spice powder).  If you want to add a bit of crunch you can add furikake toasted sesame seeds.

Or, you can add a mountain of toasted seaweed strips.

This is a really simple, healthy, and satisfying soup.

The shiitake soaking water is a great flavor enhancer.  I think I need to do some experimentation with it.  I’m thinking it would be a nice change from chicken stock in stir fries, rice, or risotto.  I will report back if I find any other good uses for this liquid.  In the meantime — happy slurping!

Udon with Shiitake Mushrooms and Kale in Miso Broth

Adapted from  Veganomicon:  The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook

Ingredients

1 packet of pre-cooked udon noodles

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 medium-size red onion, sliced into half-moons

1 handful of dried shiitake mushrooms

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 teaspoons of fresh ginger, minced

2 tablespoons of mirin (optional)

3 tablespoons of shiro or white miso

2 cups of chopped greens

Extra firm tofu cut into small cubes (optional)

1.  Soak the shiitake mushrooms in hot water for 20-30 minutes.  Take out the mushrooms and reserve the soaking liquid.  Cut off the stems and slice the mushrooms.

2.  Add the oil in a medium size pot over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and onions (or leeks) and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the mushrooms are golden and the onion are soft.  Add the garlic and ginger and saute for another minute.

3.  Add the mirin, water, and miso, and bring to a gentle boil.  Lower the heat to a simmer and add the kale, the udon, and the tofu if you are using it.  Use a spoon to loosen the udon noodles.  Sprinkle shichimi togarashi (7 spice powder) and/or furikake toasted sesame seeds and seaweed and/or roasted seaweed strips.  Or, for added heat, sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes on top.

Note:  If you can’t find the precooked udon noodles then cook the noodles in a separate pot until done (check instructions on the package) and then add to the soup at the end.  I like the precooked udon because they cook in a couple of minutes and I make this soup using only one pot.

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