If your experience of this famous Japanese soup has only been of the instant kind, this recipe will be a revelation – it touches your soul. It is made with fresh tofu and wakame seaweed, but other classic combinations are daikon and fried tofu, potato and wakame, clams and spring onions, and pumpkin and spinach. If using ingredients that need to be cooked (unlike the tofu and wakame, which just need to be heated through), you can cook them in the dashi (stock) before adding the miso.
- 10 cm piece of kombu
- 750 ml water
- 15 g katsuobushi (bonito flakes)
- 5 g dried wakame
- 2–3 tbsp miso, to taste
- 150 g tofu, cut into 1.5 cm cubes
- finely sliced spring onion
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time 40 minutes
To make the dashi, wipe the surface of the kombu with a dry or slightly damp cloth (don’t wash under water as the surface holds flavour). Using scissors, make a few snips in the kombu to help release the flavours when soaking. Place in a saucepan with the water and leave to soak for at least 30 minutes.
Slowly bring the kombu and water to the boil. Just before it reaches boiling point, remove the kombu and discard. When the water comes to the boil, turn off the heat and stir in an extra ladleful of cold water followed by the katsuobushi.
Return the saucepan to the heat until the water comes back to the boil, then remove from the heat again and leave until the katsuobushi settles on the bottom of the pan.
Strain the dashi through a fine sieve. Don’t squeeze out the flakes as this will make the stock too fishy.
To make the miso, soak the wakame in cold water for 10 minutes. Drain and squeeze out the excess water. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
Heat the dashi. While heating, remove a cup of the dashi, dissolve the miso in it and return to the pan. Don’t let the soup boil after the miso is added.
Add the tofu and wakame and gently heat through. Serve garnished with spring onion.