March 01, 2012
2 quarts (8 cups) water
1 pound shitake mushrooms, caps only, sliced thin
1 pound firm or extra-firm tofu, cuts in small cubes
1 bunch Swiss chard, leaves only, cut into ribbons
1 cup miso paste, dark for a stronger taste, white for a milder taste
2-inch piece ginger, grated
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon bottled hot sauce, or more to taste
4 scallions, sliced very thin
Bring all but last ingredient to a boil, then turn off the flame. Stir in the scallions. Serve hot. Makes a dozen ample servings.
Choose from: Sliced celery, sliced zucchini, sliced carrots, frozen corn kernels, sliced nappa cabbage, sliced bok choy, etc… Nothing canned whatsoever please! Proceed as above.
Throw in a nice handful or two of rice noodles or soba noodles, left whole (get ready for slurping) or cut into smaller pieces (no slurping). Proceed as above.
Throw in a handful of seaweed: Crumbled nori, wakame, arame, hijiki. Proceed as above.
Include 3-4 cups either cubed chicken breasts or fish: they will cook in the same time the soup does. Proceed as above.
Add bright green vegetables such as snow peas, spinach leaves, watercress leaves, asparagus sections, broccoli spears or string beans all the way at the end of cooking, after the soup comes to a boil, so that they retain their bright color.
Throw in a 15 ounce can of coconut milk for a richer soup. Proceed as above.
Throw in a cup of sake for added punch. Proceed as above.