By now, you are probably well aware of my soup-obsession. Seriously, I can’t stop. And, I’m always on the lookout for recipes that feel like they are increasing our vitality and wellness rather than weighing us down. This soup fits the bill 100%.

Now, I must warn that you are going to think:

a. it isn’t worth the effort to hunt down these weird ingredients (it is: I found everything at Whole Foods)

b. it smells a bit intense when you add the Bonito flakes (I know it. My husband swore this was going to be the worst meal ever but have faith. It is SO good, even your picky husbands/wives will like it.)

c. it seems complicated. (Yes, it is a lot of steps, but, truly, it took less than an hour to make it and was pretty freakin’ easy in the end.)

Ignore your hesitation, pull out your soup pot and get to cooking. If you have a cold or are feeling run-down from the holidays, that is even more of a reason to make this soup. I promise.

photo from nytimes.com

INGREDIENTS

DASHI

  • 1 package kombu (about 2 ounces, which is the size of a package)
  • 4 quarts water
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 ½ cups dried bonito flakes
  • ½ teaspoon chile flakes
  • ¼ cup dried shiitake mushrooms

REST OF SOUP

  • 5 tablespoons miso paste
  • 3 cups chopped greens, like broccoli rabe, kale or stemmed collards
  • ½ cup chopped scallions or spring onion
  • 3 teaspoons fish sauce
  •  1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 block silken tofu, cut in half horizontally then into squares **personally, I found the silken tofu to be too soft for my tastes. I’d use a firmer tofu next time.
  • 4 cups chopped cilantro, or combination cilantro and basil
  • 1 lemon

PREPARATION

  1. Make dashi, either by following these instructions or by making 4 quarts instant. For homemade: Wipe kombu with a damp cloth, and break into a few pieces. Put in a pot with water. Bring almost to a boil, then turn off heat; remove kombu with tongs.
  2. Add garlic, bonito flakes, chile and shiitakes. Bring to a boil, and let boil 30 seconds. Turn off heat. Let sit for 10 minutes. Drain through a colander into a bowl. Put dashi back into pot.
  3. Add miso paste, and bring to a boil. Add greens and scallions or onion. Cook 3 minutes. Add fish sauce, salt and sugar. Lower to a simmer. Add tofu. Cook at bare simmer 10 minutes. Turn off. Add herbs.
  4. Just before serving, squeeze lemon juice into soup, to the sourness that you like.