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 Kenchin-style Vegetable Soup

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PostSubject: Kenchin-style Vegetable Soup   Wed May 08, 2013 1:35 pm

•5 1/2 ounces (150g) burdock root
•4 dried shiitake mushrooms
•2 1/2 cups (600ml) water
•1 block konnyaku, about 10 1/2 ounces (300g), cut into bite-size pieces
•3 tablespoons sesame oil
•10 1/2 ounces (300g) daikon radish, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
•7 ounces (200g) carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
•3 1/2 ounces (100g) lotus root, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
•2 tablespoons soy sauce, for preparation
•2 1/2 cups (600ml) konbu stock (see below)
•4 tablespoons sake
•1 block firm tofu, about 14 ounces (400g)
•4 tablespoons soy sauce, for the soup
•3 1/2 ounces (100g) baby spinach or other leafy greens, cut into 2-inch (5cm) lengths

Serves 5-6

Originally from Kenchoji Temple, the first Zen Buddhist temple in Japan, this warming soup is a typical temple dish, made from root vegetables stif-fried in sesame oil then simmered in konbu-flavored broth. Crumbling a block of tofu into the soup for all to share is an example of the Zen belief that food should be divided equally between the residents of a temple, regardless of their status. This recipe uses soy sauce, but there is also a miso version. For a stronger flavor, add a little more soy sauce, miso or sake.

1. Scrub the burdock root thoroughly and scrape off the skin with the back of a clean knife. Cut the burdock into bite-sized pieces, place immediately in cold water, soak for 5 minutes, then drain.

2. Soak the shiitake in the water for about 30 minutes until soft. Drain, and reserve the water. Remove the stalks, and then cut the caps into 1/4-inch (5mm) slices.

3. Boil the konnyaku for 2 to 3 minutes, then drain.

4. Heat the sesame oil in a saucepan, then add the burdock root, shiitake, konnyaku, daikon, carrot, lotus root, and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, and stir-fry for 5 minutes.

5. Add the shiitake water, konbu stock and sake to the saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove any froth from the surface, and cook on low heat until the vegetables are tender.

6. Without draining the tofu, crumble into lumps and add to the saucepan along with 4 tablespoons of soy sauce.

7. Add the baby spinach to the saucepan, and cook until wilted.

Konbu stock

•1 2/3 cups (400ml) water
•1 piece dried konbu, 4 inches (10cm) square
1. The white powder on the surface of dried konbu adds to the flavor, so do not wash the konbu before use, simply lightly wipe with a damp cloth.

2. Place the water and the konbu in a saucepan, and leave to soak for 2 or 3 hours.

3. Place the saucepan over medium heat. Just before the water boils, remove the konbu. Use the konbu-flavored water as stock.

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