Recently in the kitchen we have renewed our love affair with miso soup. While others will tell you to spend time making stocks and broths for miso soup, and cook any number of ingredients, I have a wonderful, never-fail, 5 minute approach to making miso soup. The secret is, there is little that needs to be pre-cooked for miso soup. The most I do is to soak some cute little beancurd bows (but even the pre-soaking can be skipped), and perhaps some noodles. They soak while the kettle boils and the ingredients are sliced. Mix miso with hot water until dissolved, pour into a lovely bowl, add the thinly sliced ingredients and a few other flavour enhancers (see my post), the noodles if using, the beancurd perhaps, and sip contentedly. Deep flavours, comfort and nourishment. What more could you want?
Ottolenghi’s approach to what I consider to be his version of my miso soup (without using miso, let me be clear). Yet his is faaaar more complicated. It is a kitchen-sink style approach. Perhaps he should use miso! He considers this recipe to be a variation on Asian soups such as Thai tom yum or Vietnamese pho. The key is the stock, which must be rich and hearty, with many layers of flavour. And, miso or not, the broth is extraordinary! Hot and sour as promised. Earthy and deep, yet with a lightness too. It was a real surprise. Make double and freeze half.
He doesn’t add noodles, but you can. I recommend making double the amount of broth, make the mushroom soup as-is, then decide how to use the second half with the noodles. Mushrooms and noodles. Greens and noodles. Fried tofu and noodles.
It’s interesting to me that he doesn’t include dried shiitake mushrooms in the stock (and sliced for the soup). Dried Shiitake are a vegetarian’s best friend when it comes to dark, flavoursome broths. Anyway, this is how I make an Asian Stock that is so delicious it is worth keeping some in the fridge and freezer, and using it for whatever you are making – rice, risotto, noodles, …. Ottolenghi’s is rather similar, come to think of it. But my broth is light and summery, his is deep and earthy.
You’ve guessed it, this is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More. In fact, it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.
Browse all of our Soups and all of our Mushroom recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.
Hot and Sour Mushroom Soup
3 medium onions, peeled and cut into large pieces
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
6 sticks celery, roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled
75g ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
3 lemongrass stalks, very roughly chopped
3 red chillies, roughly chopped
6 star anise
2 Tblspn soy sauce
6 lime leaves
30g chopped coriander root
120g enoki mushrooms
120g white mushrooms, sliced
160g shimeji mushrooms
Juice of 2 limes
20g coriander leaves, plus extra
20g Thai basil leaves
160g bean sprouts
160g green beans, blanched for four minutes and refreshed
4 tspn tamarind paste
½ tspn salt
Toasted sesame oil, to finish
In a large pan, char the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and ginger in a tiny amount of oil. Cook for five minutes, or until the edges begin to colour.
Add 2.25 litres of water, the lemongrass, prunes, chillies, star anise, soy, lime leaves and coriander root. Cook on a low simmer for at least 45 minutes, to infuse.
Strain the stock, return to the pan (you can discard the vegetables, but you may love the carrot and celery) and bring to a very low simmer. Add the enoki and white mushrooms and cook for a minute. Add the remaining ingredients apart from the sesame oil, and heat through for a minute.
Taste, adjust the seasoning as needed, and ladle into warm bowls. Finish with sesame oil, not more than a few drops in each bowl, and coriander leaves.
recipe notes and alternatives
Some Japanese or Chinese noodles are an excellent addition.
I also added to the broth – dried shiitake and porcini mushrooms, wakame, lemon verbena, brown cardamom. A trick I was taught by a French chef a long time ago was, for a little sour, which is always good in broth and stocks, add half a lemon or lime. I added a little here, not too much, as tamarind is added later.