On this website, I have shared my recipe ‘Monk’s Vegan Soup’, that is called ‘Kenchin-jiru’ in Japan. ‘Kenchin-jiru’ is 100% plant-based soup that originated several centuries ago from a temple where Buddhist monks prepared this soup. This Vegan soup is still very popular and Soba Noodles are often added to it. I am not Vegan but I enjoy this dish very much.


Makes

4 Servings

Ingredients

2-3 teaspoons Sesame Oil
1/2 Carrot
5cm Daikon (White Radish)
3-4 Satoimo (small Taros) *OR 1 large Potato
10cm Gobo (Burdock Root) *optional as it is hard to find
1 pinch Salt
6 tablespoons Soy Sauce
Salt
200g Tofu *medium firm type such as ‘Momen’
1 sheet Abura-age (Fried Thin Tofu)
4 servings Soba Noodles
1 Spring Onion *finely shopped
Shichimi (Japanese Chilli Spice Mix) *OR ground Chilli

Stock
5 cups Water
10cm Kombu (Kelp)
4 to 5 Dried Shiitake
*Note: You can use 2 teaspoons Kombu or Shiitake Dashi Powder instead

Method
  1. Prepare the stock first. Place cold Water in a large bowl or pot, add cleaned Kombu (Kelp) and Dried Shiitake, and soak for at least 1-2 hours.
  2. *Note: Softened Shiitake can be cleaned and cut into small pieces and added to the soup later, but DO NOT add the softened Kombu to the soup. Kombu will get slimy and unpleasant flavour will come out. Use it for something else.
  3. Cut all Vegetables and Tofu into small pieces that are easy to eat. Thinly slice or chop up Spring Onion for topping. *Note: Cut Satoimo (Taros) into the size larger than other vegetables.
  4. Heat Sesame Oil in a large saucepan or pot, stir-fry Vegetables for a few minutes. Add 1 pinch Salt to season.
  5. Add 1200ml stock you made. (*Avoid the dirt and settlings.) Bring to the simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Season with Soy Sauce, add some Salt as required, and cook until all vegetables are soft.
  6. When Vegetables are soft, add Abura-age (Fried Thin Tofu) and Tofu, and bring back to the boil. Then soup is done.
  7. Cook Soba Noodles firmly and drain. (If hot tap water is available, I recommend to rinse with hot water, then drain well.) Place in serving bowls. Pour the soup, add some thinly sliced Spring Onion and Shichimi (Japanese Chilli Spice Mix), and enjoy.