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One of the quintessential Japanese flavor enhancers, miso paste, plays a prominent role in this classic simple soup. Ichiban dashi (first stock) is the light, flavor-rich broth made from kelp (kombu) and dried bonito flakes (katsuoboshi).
I usually make a one gallon (4 liters) batch at a time, freezing most of it into pint (1/2 liter) or quart (1 liter) jars. It freezes well and keeps for months there. Just be sure to leave head space if you’re storing in glass jars, so the broth has room to expand when it freezes and won’t tragically break the jar! (Water is one of the few compounds that actually increases in volume when it freezes). Another handy tip is to pour it into ice cube trays, creating handy portions for future use. Just pop out as many as you need, keep the rest in the freezer!
- 4 cups/1L filtered water
- 4 grams (2" by 5" or 10 square inches) kombu (dried kelp)
- 5 grams (about ½ cup, 125ml) katsuoboshi (bonito flakes)
- 3 Tbsp./45 ml red miso
- 2 scallions
- 20 grams enoki mushrooms
- Scrub kombu lightly under cool water to remove debris (pollution or small sea creatures).
- Add kombu to water in a pot and let soak for about 15 minutes.
- Cut scallions into ⅛" slices.
- Trim dirt off enoki mushrooms then cut into 1" pieces.
- Turn pot on medium-high heat. Right before the water starts to boil (bubbles starting to break around the edge of the pot), remove kombu and scatter the katsuobushi over the surface of the water. Reserve kombu to make niban dashi (second broth) or compost or discard if not desired.
- Let broth return to boil, then turn off heat and let sit 5 minutes.
- The flakes will have sunk to the bottom of the pot. Strain the stock through a tight mesh strainer. You now have dashi.
- Ladle 1 cup dashi into a small bowl. Let cool slightly, then add miso and whisk until smooth.
- Add the miso mixture back to the dashi and whisk to combine. Return to a slight simmer, being careful not to boil the mixture.
- Add scallions and mushrooms and cook for another minute.
- Remove from heat, ladle into soup bowls and serve immediately.
We’ve also had good luck with a vegan dashi broth, made with shiitake mushrooms as an alternate umami source.
May we suggest…
Frugal Fermenter tip: You could reuse the soaked kombu and bonito and make a second stock (niban dashi) from it. It won’t have as much flavor as the first stock, but it’s a great way to honor your ingredients and get the most from them. Second stock is typically used an ingredient for other dishes like soups, marinades, etc. rather than for miso soup.