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Mushroom and Tofu Soup

This is one of our favourites for a light lunch or supper. This recipe serves two. It is easily adjusted to serve three or four.


450g (1 lb) Tofu.
100g (4 ozs) Shiitake mushrooms (more if you wish)
900 ml (30 fl ozs – 3.8 cups) Dashi stock
2 Tbsp soy sauce
Olive oil
200 ml (about 1 cup) Saki, or dry white wine
Toasted sesame seed oil
1 Spring onion (scallion)

To make dashi stock:

2 L (8.5 cups) water
100mm (4") length of Kombu (or in the Atlantic, Alari)
3 or 4 Shiitake mushooms, or 8 - 10 Shiitake stalks

Put the water and the Kombu in a pan and bring to the boil.
Simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the mushrooms or mushroom stalks.
Simmer for a further 10 minutes.

Strain into glass jars (Ball jars, Kilner jars or similar) and store in the refrigerator.

Use for miso soup, soups and stews of all sorts.

OK – now to this particular soup:

Wrap the tofu in kitchen paper and press gently with a wooden board to expel some of the water. Unwrap and cut into 20mm (3/4") cubes - you will probably get 40 or so cubes.

Cut the stalks off the mushrooms (reserve for Dashi stock). Cut the mushrooms into about 15mm (5/8") strips. That is halving small ones, cutting medium ones into three and big ones into four. Put in a strainer and rinse under the cold tap and drain.

Slice the spring onions into very thin (2mm – less than 1/8") slices; the white and green parts.

Heat about 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a good heavy cast iron frying pan (skillet). Add the mushrooms and move about so they don't stick to the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat to medium and allow the mushrooms to sauté very gently. From time to time add some Sake, so that they keep cooking without burning. The objective is to get them lightly browned and just ever so slightly crispy. This will probably take 30 minutes or so. Don't have the heat too high. When they are done, remove them to a bowl lined with kitchen paper.

Heat about 100ml (1/2 cup) of olive oil in a deep pan – a wok is perfect for this because it keeps the oil in a deep pool. Add the tofu and sauté until it is light golden brown on the outside. Remove the tofu with a slotted spatular into a bowl lined with kitchen paper. Scoop the oil out of the wok (to use again). Once the tofu has cooled a bit, cut each piece in half.

Add the dashi stock to the pan or the wok and bring to the boil. Add the tofu pieces and the mushrooms. Once it returns to the boil, add the soy sauce and simmer for about 1 minute.

Serve the soup. Garnish with a few drops of sesame oil and the spring onion.

Delicious! Enjoy!


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