This soup is called ‘Kenchin-jiru’ in Japan. It is originally a Buddhist dish and vegan. Vegetable base stock, such as Shiitake Mushroom OR Kombu (Kelp), is used for this soup. It is commonly seasoned with Soy Sauce, but there are many variations these days. Some people prefer seasoning with Miso. Root vegetables are the main ingredients and Gobō (Burdock Root) is the key ingredient, but it’s too hard to find where I live. Let’s forget Gobō…
1 to 2 teaspoons Sesame Oil
5cm Daikon (White Radish)
4 to 5 Satoimo (small Taros) *OR 1 large Potato
10cm Gobo (Burdock Root) *optional
1 pinch Salt
4 tablespoons Soy Sauce
Ground Chilli OR finely ground White Pepper *optional
200g Tofu *medium firm type such as ‘Momen’
1 sheet Abura-age (Fried Thin Tofu)
1 Spring Onion *finely shopped
3 & 1/2 cups Water
10cm Kombu (Kelp)
4 to 5 Dried Shiitake
*Note: You can use 1 heaped teaspoon Dashi Powder instead
- Prepare the stock first. Place cold Water in a bowl, add cleaned Kombu (Kelp) and Dried Shiitake, and soak for at least 1-2 hours. Softened Shiitake can be cut into small pieces and added to the soup later.
- *Note: Do not add the softened Kombu to the soup. Kombu will get slimy and unpleasant flavour will come out. Use it for something else.
- Cut all Vegetables and Tofu into small pieces that are easy to eat. Finely cut Spring Onion for topping.
- Heat Sesame Oil in a large saucepan or pot, stir-fry Vegetables for a few minutes. Add 1 pinch Salt to season.
- Add 3 cups stock you made. (*Avoid the dirt and settlings.) Bring to the simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Season with Soy Sauce and cook until all vegetables are soft.
- *Note: I add 1 pinch Ground Chilli OR White Pepper for a hint of spiciness. This is totally untraditional, but I like it.
- When Vegetables are soft, add Abura-age (Fried Thin Tofu) and Tofu, and bring back to the boil. Then it’s done!
- Sprinkle with finely chopped Spring Onion and enjoy.
We make this all the time! One of my favorite discoveries from your blog. Haven’t commented before, but this site is our favorite place to find recipes.
Gobo makes this dish. Luckily it’s available around here. It’a quite nice with a side of rice and takuan. I tend to like adding a bit of crystal hot sauce.
Thank you, Mars, for such a positive comment. The encouragements like yours keep me doing this project. The smell of this soup reminds me my mother’s kitchen and makes me feel nostalgic.