Mori Willhite, owner and instructor of Katsumi's Teaching Kitchen, shares her recipe for making a flavorful miso soup, rich in umami goodness. The secret is to build the dashi broth over time, then add the miso at the last minute.
2 six inch strips of Kombu (seaweed)
5 or 6 dried anchovies
3-4 dried shitake mushroom caps
1 quart of water
a heaping cup of bonito flakes
1/2 cup firm tofu cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/2 cup japanese miso paste
1 tablespoon dry sake
green onion tops, cut small, for garnish
Combine the anchovies, kombu, mushrooms, and water into a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to lowest setting, or turn off heat and let the broth steep for an hour or more. Just before serving, reheat the broth over medium heat and add the bonito flakes. Stir and cook for about a minute. then strain the soup into a bowl. Your broth will look like apple juice. That is your dashi. Return the broth to the saucepan. Reduce heat to low.
Add the cubed tofu. Spoon the miso paste into a ladle with some of the dashi, and blend well with chopsticks before adding into the soup (to prevent miso paste lumps in the soup). Add the sake and serve. Top each bowl with a sprinkle of green onion. Enjoy.
Note: many of the Japanese ingredients can be found locally at B-Town International Market.