Thick Miso Stew

Any fellow vegetarian will be able to sympathize with the ever-annoying “Is there meat in this or not?” debate when eating out. Especially with fish. Can I just say that I truly do not understand why people don’t consider fish an animal? People, it’s got a face.

One thing I’ve always struggled to find a veggie alternative to is miso soup because restaurants usually use bonito, a type of fish. I was browsing through my Vegetarian Times and happened to come across a recipe for miso stew, so here’s my attempt at that with some changes of my own.

Here’s the semi-hefty shopping list:

  • 6-8 dried assorted mushrooms, preferably shiitake
  • 1/2 cup of dulse seaweed, plus some for garnishing
  • 2 tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 tbs. mirin
  • 1/2 tbs. sugar
  • 1 cup thinly sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 small leek, white and light green parts thinly sliced (3/4 cup)
  • 1 medium sweet potato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 cups)
  • 2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch strips
  • 3-4 tbs. miso paste (red or white)
  • 8 oz. firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Sesame Oil for garnishing

I chose to use white miso paste for this recipe since that’s typically what they use in restaurants and I wanted to play it safe. Combine mushrooms, dulse, soy sauce, mirin and sugar in 5 cups of water in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Put a lid on it and turn the heat down, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Once it’s looking brothy (if that’s a thing) strain out all the solid ingredients, discarding them. This should leave you with a dark-ish looking broth.

Dried Mushrooms and Dulse

Add button mushrooms and leek to your broth, bringing it to a boil. Cover it up again and reduce heat, and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Add in the sweet potato and green beans and simmer for another 7 minutes or so until you can easily stab a fork into the sweet potato.

Extract 1 cup of the broth in a heatproof measuring cup and whisk in the miso paste until there are no chunks. Stir this mixture back in with the rest of the soup on medium-low heat and wait until you see the miso begin to “bloom.” If you’ve never witnessed this, it’s just when the broth begins to move and looks like it’s separating slightly.

Stir in your tofu cubes on a low heat, just hot enough to mix everything together without boiling. Sprinkle green onions on top and season it with sesame oil (a little bit goes a long way) and some dulse if you like the seaweed taste.

Enjoy! Let me know if you run into any difficulties and all that. Now I’m off to watch an episode of Frisky Dingo then pass out. Bye!

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