Sunday, August 19, 2007

Soup is good food.

Ginger Dashi Udon Soup with Tofu and Spinach. When I was younger I used to love canned soup. Now I can't stand the stuff. It tastes like a big bowl of mushy salt water. It's far too easy to make a good soup from scratch. Besides, I don't see Cambells making this flavor anytime soon. I make stocks and keep them in the freezer for days like this. If you don't have the time to make your own stocks there are some decent ready-made stocks at the market. Dashi is a pretty easy stock to make. All you need is dried kombu (seaweed), dried bonito (fish flake), and water. There are some instant dashi mixes that work pretty well but nothing beats the real deal. To make this dish I defrosted some dashi and threw in a few slices of ginger and let it simmer. In the meantime I boiled my udon noodles until just about done and added them to the broth. I then added some of my favorite local Thanh Son tofu and fresh spinach. To finish I stirred in a little bit of soy sauce and topped with scallions and fried shallots. Go make your own Dashi and put it in the freezer. The next time you crave miso soup you won't have to go out for sushi, you can make it yourself.

Dashi

3 oz dry bonito
4" piece of kombu, most of white powder brushed off
1 gal cold water

Add kombu to the cold water and bring to a simmer. Remove the kombu before it boils. Add the bonito to the water and bring it back to a near boil. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 15-20 minutes skimming the scum from the top. Strain and freeze in one cup portions. Easy.

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