Category Archives: Soup

Japanese Curry Tofu Soup

Many of you may not know this, but I, the owner of a food blog, do not have a kitchen.  I have a microwave, rice cooker, and toaster oven.  Needless to say I have to get pretty creative in making dishes without resorting to eating garbage ramen or things of the like.  I’ve been eating A LOT of miso soup and today I just was not feeling misoey, I wanted Japanese curry, which is kind of an amalgamation of several different curries formed into one delicious powder.  While it meets the standard of a traditional English(Indian) Curry by having cumin, coriander, and turmeric it also has a slew of spices like cardamom, fenugreek, ginger, and probably six or seven more spices.  To make a normal Japanese curry you would make a beef or veal demi-glaze(beef or veal stock reduced into super concentrated beef or veal sauce) and then blend in the curry blend so you end up with a ridiculously unctuous sauce that coats your whole palate with curry goodness.   SOOOOOOoooo, instead of making it a palate coating ultra heavy served over beef delight I just changed it up and made it into a lighter dashi based soup.

 

Japanese Curry Tofu Soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 2cups – Dashi Broth
  • 1cup – Water
  • 1tbsp – S&B Oriental Curry Powder (heaping tablespoon)
  • 1tbsp – Soy Sauce
  • 1tbsp – Sake
  • 1tbsp – Mirin
  • 1/4lb – Soft Tofu (not silken though) cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 – Green Onion, sliced
  • 1/4cup – Wakame Seaweed cut in small bite size pieces
  • 1/2 tsp – Pure Sesame Oil

RECIPE

  1. Make your dashi broth (link to recipe is above, and to make vegan sub dried shiitake for the bonito flakes)
  2. Combine water and dashi, bring to just barely a simmer
  3. Add soy sauce, sake, mirin, and curry powder
  4. Simmer 2 minutes add sesame oil and taste, adjust seasoning if needed
  5. Add tofu, onion, and seaweed and serve!

 

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Shiitake Mushroom Miso Soup

Don’t mind the TV remote in the photo, it’s natural.  Anyways, I’m currently eating vegan for the week and have wanted to try out some dashi variations.  Dashi is the traditional Japanese stock that is the base of most of the cultures sauces and soups.  Dashi is traditionally made with kombu, a type of kelp loaded with delicious glutamate, and katsuoboshi or bonito flakes, a dried, smoked, cured, smoked, dried, smoked, cured, aged fish.  Basically you turn a fish into a brick then you shave it as if you were widdling wood.  Though while Buddhism was being introduced to the country people started adopting vegetarian diets and the dried mushroom dashi was born.  That all being said, I wanted delicious miso soup and this hit the spot!

mushroom miso soup

SHIITAKE MUSHROOM MISO SOUP

INGREDIENTS

  • 2qt – Water
  • 1 – 3×4″ Kombu Chunk
  • 4-5 Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
  • 3tbs – Aka(red) Miso Paste
  • 2oz – Firm Tofu, 1/4″ dice
  • 1 – Green Onion, sliced 1/8″ thick
  • 1tsp – Vegetable Oil

RECIPE

  1. Soak kombu in water 30 mins
  2. Remove kombu and heat until just barely simmering, remove from heat
  3. Return kombu and add mushrooms, let sit 30 minutes
  4. Remove kombu and mushrooms, slice mushrooms into 1/4″ strips
  5. Bring dashi stock to a simmer, using a wooden spoon, stir in miso paste until fully dissolved, then taste and add more if needed
  6. Saute sliced mushrooms in olive oil 3-4 minutes until lightly caramelized
  7. Drain on paper towel, then add mushrooms, green onions, and tofu
  8. Pour into a bowl and enjoy!

Spinach & Tofu Soup

I know, I’ve disappeared off the face of the Earth for a couple months. . . I apologize, I’ve been working on building my knowledge and credibility in food.  Now I manage a few restaurants, do some catering, AND I will be hosting an hour long cooking panel at Anime Expo next weekend for any fellow Japanese fans that will be in Los Angeles.  Here’s the info (yes this is a shameless plug):

 

ANIME EXPO

How to Cook Japanese Food w/ Eating in Bed

July 5th

7:00pm – 8:00pm

Los Angeles Convention Center

I’ll be demonstrating how to make Dashi Broth, Soba Noodles, and Sushi Rice, then preparing a few dishes with them.

 

This one’s a really quick soup to make that has some great flavors and it diverts from a traditional miso soup in that it uses a chicken stock instead of a dashi broth.  It also diverts from the Japanese flavor profile with the use of lemongrass, which is generally used more in Thai/Cambodian cuisine, as well as dried baby shrimp that lends itself more to the Korean flavor profile.  All of them come together to make a soup that’s got a nice richness, some sourness, a little heat, and it can all be made in less than 30 minutes!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups – chicken stock
  • 1.5 tbs – white miso paste
  • 1 tbs – dried baby shrimp, ground
  • 2 tsp – ground lemongrass
  • 1 tsp – salt
  • 4oz – firm tofu cut in rectangles
  • 3/4 cup – frozen spinach
  • 1/2 cup – frozen green peas
  • 2 tsp – butter
  • 1 tsp – black sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp – togarashi
  • OPTIONAL GARNISH – Green Onion

Recipe

  1. To prep your firm tofu, cut it into rectangles and dry it by placing it on paper towels and patting it with paper towels, having it drained will allow it to absorb the flavors more
  2. Bring stock to boil
  3. Add spinach and peas; bring to boil
  4. Add miso paste and ground shrimp, bring to boil
  5. Add salt, lemongrass, try it and adjust seasoning
  6. Add tofu, butter, togarashi, and sesame seeds, serve!

How to Make Dashi Broth (Ichiban Dashi)

This one’s a fun one for anyone interested in Japanese cooking, it’s the building block of most Japanese soups, and sauces.  We’re talking about dashi!  It’s a fish stock/broth that really doesn’t require much cooking, it really doesn’t require much of anything considering it’s two ingredients and water, but those ingredients speak for themselves, and that’s the entire point.  Minimalism, simplicity, and allowing good ingredients to be the stars.  Obviously for your first couple tries you’re going to want to use the cheap stuff, but once you’ve made a few dashi stocks you’ll want to improve the quality of your ingredients as well as refine your technique.  I’ve heard of several different methods of making dashi, and this is one of my favorites because of its speed and attention to the ingredients.

Katsuoboshi or Bonito Flakes, available at any Asian Market
Katsuoboshi or Bonito Flakes, available at any Asian Market

INGREDIENTS

  • 1QT – Water
  • 1 – 5×3 Rectangle of Kombu
  • 3/4Cup – Katsuoboshi (Bonito Flakes)
Kombu, Dried Kelp, also at Asian Markets
Kombu, Dried Kelp, also at Asian Markets

RECIPE

  1. Bring water to a simmer, remove from heat
  2. Add in the kombu
  3. Allow to cool to room temp, about 30 minutes
  4. Remove kombu
  5. Bring water back to a simmer, remove from heat
  6. Add bonito flakes, let sit 3-4 mins
  7. Strain through chinois or cheese cloth lined colander
Miso Soup is made with Dashi. . . but that's for another article!!!
Miso Soup is made with Dashi. . . but that’s for another article!!!

There you have it, the basis for Japanese soups, broths, and sauces.  Remember that this is just one way to make it, and why did I decide on this version?  Because it doesn’t require you to soak your kombu overnight, it also doesn’t require you to boil your kombu.  Soaking overnight develops great flavor, but most home cooks don’t want to dedicate that much effort to stock, and even though it’s faster to bring your kombu to a boil then cut off the heat and steep it that way, you also run the risk of damaging the flavor of the kombu.  By treating the kombu itself like a teabag you will be able to steep all the flavors without damaging any of the delicate nature of the kelp.  Theoretically, one of the best methods would be to bring your water to a boil, remove from heat, and add both your kombu and bonito flakes(in cheesecloth sachet), then just retrieve the bonito after 5 minutes, and leave the kombu to steep for another 25 minutes.  I’ll try it out, and I recommend you do the same if you want to make delicious miso soup, or shiitake mushroom soup!

Spicy Cabbage Soup W/ Tilapia

With Tilapia
Photography by Lauren Williams

Today’s guest post comes to us from Lauren Williams of Los Angeles.  It’s for a delicious looking Spicy Cabbage Soup with Tilapia.  It has 2 of my favorite ingredients, Tilapia and Serranno Peppers.  I look forward to trying this out! Thanks Lauren, and I’d love to receive more guest posts from all of you awesome readers out there!

I can’t think of a better way to spend a cold, rainy day than making soup. Toss on some music or your favorite podcast and chop your cares away.

INGREDIENTS – SOUP

  • 6oz Can Tomato Paste
  • 1qt Veggie Broth
  • 1qt Low Sodium or No Salt Added Chicken Stock
  • 2 1/2 – 3 Cups Water
  • Mrs. Dash (low sodium version) or Seasoned Pepper and Salt to Taste
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Large Sweet Yellow Onion – Diced
  • 8 Cloves Garlic – Minced
  • 1 Jalapeno Pepper – Minced
  • 1 Serrano Pepper – Minced
  • 12oz Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 8 Baby Gold Potatoes
  • 1 Pkg Wild Rice (I use Mahatma with the seasonings)
  • 1 Head Cabbage – Cored & Chopped

INGREDIENTS – TILAPIA

  • 5-6 Tilapia Fillets
  • 1/2 Cup of Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Paprika
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • Olive Oil

 

RECIPE

  1. Pour in broth, stock, and water into slow cooker and set temperature to high
  2. Once liquids are warm, Stir in 6oz can of tomato paste
  3. Season to taste
  4. Let simmer for a 1/2 hour
  5. Add in tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, onions, peppers, and wild rice
  6. Simmer for 30 mins or until potatoes and rice are cooked
  7. Add in chopped cabbage and simmer until limp and potatoes/rice are cooked
  8. Combine flour, lemon pepper, paprika, salt, and pepper
  9. Coat tilapia fillets in flour
  10. Cook in two batches
  11. Melt 1 of the 2 tbsp of butter and coat the bottom of the pan in olive oil
  12. Knock off excess flour and sear 2-3 fillets at a time at 3-4 min per side
  13. Repeat process with 2nd batch, melting in the remaining butter
  14. Place fillets in a paper towel lined dish and let cool
  15. Chunk up and add to soup once finished
  16. Serve garnished with cilantro and chopped green onions
This soup was a bit of an experiment as I don’t usually prepare it spicy or with fish. I wanted a hearty, healthier meal after being bogged down with take-out the last few days. The fish was a pleasant alternative to the usual beef or chicken, while the spicy aspects complimented the lemon and the sweetness of the potatoes and onions. All in all, a perfectly filling end to a cold and rainy day!
PS- The fish is REALLY good on its own as well! Make some extra fillets, side with rice, Sriracha sauce and steamed veggies and you’ve got yourself a meal! Its a meal within a meal… OOOOOOooooOOOOoo!

Crockpot Cabbage & Beef Soup

Red Wine Beef Soup
Photography by Corey White

Throughout our lives there are times when means are slim and eating with a group is cheaper than eating by ourselves.  These times usually call for crockpot meals, you know the type; a meat, a starch, some vegetables, and a whole bunch of liquid to to make it seem like there’s more than there actually is?  That’s exactly what I’m talking about.  A good old fashioned one pot meal, and this time I was cooking at work, with a singular crockpot, a nice plastic cutting board, and a horribly dull serrated blade.  Other than that there was not much in the ways of cooking, save for a pair of grilling tongs that came in handy more than once!  This was a privation meal, everyone wanted to save money and eat hearty, so I went with things on sale, cabbage was less than $.70 for a whole head, tri-tip was $6.00 for 2.5lbs, carrots were $1.25 per pound.  So these were the things chosen, and after a long night of cooking and some seasoning tweaking at the end, we had a delicious soup that was filling, tangy, melty, and most importantly beefy!

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Head of Cabbage (just regular old cabbage) – Halved, then sliced
  • 1lb Baby Carrots
  • 1 Large Yellow Onion – Rough Chopped
  • 5-6 Red Potatoes – Rough Chopped
  • 8 Cloves Garlic – Sliced
  • 2 1/2lbs Tri-Tip (Silver Skin Trimmed)
  • 1/2-1lb  Spare Ribs (UK cut)
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Bottle of Red Wine (Merlot)
  • 1 Quart of Beef Broth
  • 1 Tbsp Rubbed Sage
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2-3 Tbsp Paprika (I used 3)

 

RECIPE

  1. Bring tri-tip and ribs up to room temperature after liberally salting and peppering
  2. Heat your crock-pot to high heat
  3. Add the olive oil
  4. Chop your tri-tip and put it fat side down in the crock-pot (or sear it in a separate pan, then deglaze with beef stock and add to crockpot)
  5. Cook 10-20 minutes until the fat has browned and released some juices
  6. Add the ribs
  7. Add all the vegetables (save half the carrots and cabbage)
  8. Pour in red wine and half of the beef broth
  9. Add 1-2 tsp salt and pepper
  10. Add bay leaves
  11. Cover
  12. Turn heat to Low
  13. Cook for 8-12 hours
  14. Add the remaining beef broth, carrots, and cabbage
  15. Cook on Low, 1 more hour
  16. **Optional** You can saute a bit of the remaining cabbage in a White Balsamic Vinegar for a garnish that brings bright acidity to the dish
  17. Serve with French Bread for dipping

 

The cabbage is my favorite part of this soup; the first half that you put in the first day of cooking is texturally contrasted greatly by the cabbage you add at the beginning of the second day.  Then you end up with cabbage you can slurp, and cabbage you can crunch into!  This soup cost less than $27.00 to make and fed four people for almost three days, that’s right it only cost each of us $2.25 per day to eat.  This is the first of many soups that will be made though, and not all will be made to be cooked on a budget, but this is a great recipe for something that will, most importantly, taste great, last a while, and fill you up! 

Crockpot Onion Bacon Bisque w/ Goat Cheese

Onion Bisque with Bacon and Goat Cheese
Photography by Corey White

So it’s tax season.  Are you trying to cut back at every corner, without cutting back at every corner?  Me too, in fact my co-workers too. . . too!  So we decided to do soups at work!  I brought in my crockpot and immersion blender, and then we bought the vegetables at a local farmers market/grocery store.  Using a dull serrated knife and some MacGyver skills we were able to whip up this Bacon Onion Bisque!   The original recipe came from Bon Apetit, but has significantly changed due to only having two crockpots at our disposal.  The bisque turned out incredibly, but I’ll tell you more about it at the end of the recipe!

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 Large Maui Sweet Onions
    – Slice 4
    – Mince 1
  • 1/2 Loaf Day Old French Bread
  • 1 Head of Garlic – Minced
  • 1/2Lb of Artichoke Roots – Peeled and minced
  • 2 Whole Shallots – Minced
  • 2Qts Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 Cup Cherry (or just pour until you’re happy)
  • 1Lb of Bacon (low sodium)
  • 3-4 Sprigs Sage
  • 5 Sprigs Thyme
  • 3-4 Sprigs Rosemary
  • 1-2 Tbsp White Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2-2 1/2Tbsp Black Pepper
  • 2Tbsp Hot Mexican Chili Powder
  • 1Tbsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1Tbsp Salt
  • 1Tbsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 1Tbsp Paprika
  • 4oz Peppered Goat Cheese (any will do, this is what I used though)

 

RECIPE

  1. Heat crockpot to high
  2. Add 5 slices of bacon
  3. Cook about 20-25 minutes until they’ve release most of their fat and are starting to crisp (it takes forever to crisp bacon in a crockpot)
  4. Remove bacon
  5. Add all the onions
  6. Add olive oil
  7. Stir until all the onions are coated with oil and bacon fat
  8. Let cook down for about 5-10 minutes
  9. Add the Sherry
  10. Cook 10 minutes
  11. Add the shallots, artichoke roots, and minced garlic (I recommend mincing them all in a food processor)
  12. Sprinkle with salt
  13. Cook 30 minutes until it’s all browned slightly
  14. Add both quarts of chicken broth
  15. In a food processor combine the thyme, rosemary, and sage, with 1 Tbsp White Balsamic Vinegar
  16. Process until you have an herb paste
  17. Add the herb paste to the crockpot
  18. Turn heat to low
  19. Cook overnight
  20. Taste it in the morning, it should be a nice base, but lacking salt, pepper, and other seasonings
  21. Added 1 Tbsp White Balsamic Vinegar
  22. Add paprika, seasoned salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and chili powder
  23. Stir until combined
  24. Add about 1 1/2 – 2 cups of chopped up day old French bread (add more if needed for thickening, and use the left overs to dip in the soup)
  25. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree the soup until smoothed
  26. Bring a small pan to medium-high heat
  27. Add 3 slices of bacon
  28. When you flip them(around 4 minutes), turn the heat to medium
  29. Chop up another garlic clove or two and add them to the bacon
  30. Stir until the bacon’s your level of crunchy
  31. Set aside the bacon and pour the garlic/bacon fat into the soup
  32. Stir until combined, and immersion blend until smooth unless you like garlic chunks (which I do)
  33.  Pour out a bowl of soup
  34. Add 2 Tsp goat cheese (crumbled)
  35. Chop up the bacon
  36. Add 1 slice of bacon per bowl on top of the goat cheese
  37. **optional** Garnish with fresh chives
  38. Slice a piece of the day old French bread per bowl also, and enjoy!

 This bisque evolved and developed throughout the cooking process, upon arriving after leaving it overnight it smelled and tasted different than when we left it the night before.  After some tweaking we ended with some great flavors, but no one was ready for how amazing it was going to be with the garlic sauteed bacon and peppery goat cheese.  It was like the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly, a very delicious oniony bacony cheesey butterfly.  The goat cheese adds just the right level of tartness you’re looking for, which is complimented by the white balsamic, which adds to the peppery spiciness which is cooled by the sweetness of the onions.  It’s really a great dish!