- 3 tablespoons miso paste, such as shiro miso (white), miso (aka red miso), or shinshu miso
- 1 ½ tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled
- 1 ½-inch fresh ginger piece, peeled
- ½ pound firm tofu, cut into ½-inch cubes
- ¼ pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and the caps thinly sliced
- 2 cups pea shoots (about 3 ounces), roughly chopped
- 6 medium scallions, trimmed and thinly chopped
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
1. Put the miso, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, and 1 cup water (or Dashi*) in a food processor
or a large blender. Cover and process or blend until smooth, scraping down the inside of
the canister at least once.
2. Stir the miso mixture into 4 additional cups water (or Dashi*) in a medium saucepan.
Add the tofu, mushrooms, pea shoots, and scallions; bring to a simmer over medium heat,
stirring often. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Turn off
heat and stir in the sesame oil and soy sauce before serving.
Tip: If you like more texture, finely mince the garlic and ginger but don’t put them in the food
processor or blender. Instead, add them with the tofu in step 2.
Tip: If fresh shiitake mushrooms are not available, soak 4 large dried shiitakes with warm tap
water in a small bowl for 20 minutes. Drain, reserving the soaking liquid. Strain the liquid
through cheesecloth to remove grit. Use this soaking liquid, reducing the amount of water in the
saucepan by an equivalent amount.
Tip: Substitute baby spinach or stemmed watercress for the pea shoots.
Dashi is an essential broth base for most Japanese dishes and can be purchased in most Asian Grocery stores. For those of you who want to do it from scratch there are several recipes out there, but I find this one is easiest. This recipe uses Kombu, a variety of dried edible kelp that is harvested off the coast of Hokkaido and as far south as the Seto sea. This is a good vegetarian broth and enhances the subtle flavor of Japanese cuisine. It is also a bit friendlier to the western chef than katsubuoshi, which is made from dried fish flakes and can be very aromatic. Recipe yields 4 servings
Ingredients: 1 (4 inch x 6 inch) piece dashi kombu (dried kelp) and 5 cups water
Directions: Wipe the kombu with a damp cloth to clean it. Cut into 1-inch pieces and place into a saucepan along with the water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand a few minutes. Strain through a mesh strainer before using.