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Miso Soup with Udon Noodles

Miso, a savory, highly nutritional fermented paste made from soybeans, comes in many colors, thicknesses and varieties. If you cannot find red miso, you may substitute white miso, also known as shiromiso. It is available in Japanese groceries and well-stocked supermarkets.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. udon noodles
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 thin slices fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbs. sake
  • 2 Tbs. red miso
  • 1/4 lb. silken tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 large button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 small carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 large green onion, dark green portion only, thinly sliced lengthwise

Directions:

Cook the noodles
Fill a large pot half full with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles and return the water to a boil. Cook until the noodles are al dente, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the noodles, rinse well under cold running water and drain again. Divide among 4 soup bowls.

Make the soup
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the broth, ginger and sake and heat until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes to infuse the flavors. Remove the ginger and discard.

Place the miso in a small bowl and add 1/4 cup of the hot broth. Stir until the miso is dissolved and creamy, then pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Place the tofu in a sieve and warm it under a slow stream of hot running water. Divide the tofu among the soup bowls. Ladle in the hot broth, dividing it among the bowls. Garnish with the sliced mushrooms, carrot and green onion and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Vegetarian, by Dana Jacobi (Oxmoor House, 2007).