Miso Soup with Enoki Mushrooms
Whether in soup, marinades, salad dressings, or spread on grilled vegetables, nearly everyone in Japan consumes miso in some form every day. The three basic kinds of miso--barley, rice, and soybean--are produced by crushing boiled soybeans into a paste then infusing them with a special mold from barley, rice, or soybean; these molds give the base paste distinctive flavors. The mixture then ferments and matures for six months to three years in plastic or stainless steel holding tanks. Use lighter-colored varieties in delicate soups and dressings, and the darker ones in more robust dishes. If refrigerated in an airtight container, miso can be stored for up to one year.
- 2 scallions, finely sliced
- 2 tablespoons miso
- 1/3 pound (1 package) enoki mushrooms, reserve a few for garnish
- 2/3 cup bonito flakes (fish flakes)
- 1 four-inch square dried kombu, cleaned with a damp cloth
- 1. To prepare the dashi, combine the kombu and 4 cups water in a pot, and bring to a boil. Remove the kelp, and discard. Add the bonito flakes, stir well, and remove from the heat. Let the flakes settle to the bottom of the pot, about 30 seconds. Strain the stock through a fine sieve, discarding the bonito flakes.
2. Return the stock to the pot, and add the mushrooms. Cook over moderate heat until the mushrooms have softened, about 3 minutes. In a small bowl, dissolve miso in a ladleful of dashi. Add dissolved miso to the soup, and stir to combine. Divide the soup among four bowls, and sprinkle with the reserved enoki and the scallions.