Kenchinjiru

With its roots in shojin-ryori Buddhist cuisine, this hearty miso enriched soup is a great way to get more vegetables into your diet and warm you up on these windy, rainy days.  It reminds me of tonjiru, but without the porky overtones, and is the type of soup that makes you feel almost invincible after eating a bowlful.  We make ours with homemade chicken stock, which adds a medicinal chicken soup vibe to help ward off those winter bugs. You can of course keep it traditional by using vegetable stock which makes it vegan friendly and just as delicious.

kenchinjiru
Traditional winter warmer, kenchinjiru.

Ingredients.

  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 75g carrot
  • 75g daikon (or swede)
  • 75g burdock (or parsnip)
  • 100g taro (or potato)
  • 100g Chinese (napa) cabbage
  • 125g konnyaku
  • 100g firm tofu
  • 25g usuage (deep fried tofu skin)
  • 1 tablespoon shiro miso
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • shichimi togarashi to serve

 

  1. Cut the konnyaku block into strips about 1/4 inch across and boil in a pan of water for 15 minutes. This helps remove any odours and sets the konnyaku firmly into shape.  Drain and reserve for later.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the root vegetables into equal sized pieces about half an inch across and the cabbage into strips about the same width.  Bring the stock to the boil in a pan and add the diced vegetables, keeping back the cabbage.
  3. Cut the usuage into thin strips, place them in a sieve or colander and pour a kettle of boiling water over to remove excess oil. Carefully cut the firm tofu into cubes about the same size as the vegetables.
  4. After the root vegetables have been cooking for 10 minutes, add the cabbage strips, cook for a couple of minutes and then add the konnyaku, usuage and tofu.  Turn down the heat and simmer for 2 minutes before stirring in the miso and soy sauce.  Heat for another minute before serving, and as with all miso based soups, don’t let it boil after adding the miso or you’ll ruin the flavour and healthy bacteria.  Pass around the shichimi at the table so people can add as little or as much kick as they want.

 

Serves 4.

 

 

 

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