Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Soup of Many Faces

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Nothing is as comforting and as heart-warming as a bowl of hot, homemade soup. What’s more, soup is such a versatile dish. Dress it up, and it can be a classy affair that will be sure to impress even your most gourmet of friends. Throw in leftover vegetables in your crisper, and a handful of pasta, rice or beans and you have a simple and rustic, but very filling meal. Best of all, soup doesn’t have to be complicated. As long as you have a large pot and some basic ingredients and seasonings, you’re set.

I often make miso soup for dinner. It’s fast, it’s easy and it’s healthy. But having plain miso soup all the time can get boring quite quickly, so I like to mix it up from time to time and raid my fridge of its vegetables and throw them in the pot as well. Personally, I like to add some napa cabbage and shredded carrots, which add a sweetness to the savoury soup, and some fresh enoki and shiitake mushrooms, which add an incredible depth of flavour to the soup. To make it a complete meal, you can also add a fillet of salmon or a chicken breast, cubed, and poach it with the soup, and serve it over a small scoop of rice and a poached egg.

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If you have the time, and the freezer space, definitely make your own dashi stock, which will be more flavourful (and certainly be MSG-free) from its instant counterpart. Feel free to use whatever vegetables you have in season (also delicious with some quartered baby boy choy), and try a different protein of choice (seafood would also be stellar!). Make it into a soup noodle dish by serving it over udon, soba or somen noodles. Who knew that a simple miso soup could have so many faces?


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