I’ve always loved the contrast between European and Asian soups. While ours are generally made by pureeing vegetables in a variable amount of water, theirs are usually clear broths with a number of solid ingredients such as mushrooms, noodles, rice, chicken, pork and tofu.
In many traditional recipes
These preparations confer the soup a characteristic umami flavour, one of the five “basic tastes” alongside sweet, sour, bitter and salty. You may have not heard of it, but you sure taste it on a daily basis, as it is present in a wide array of foods such as tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese, yeast or soy sauce, and added artificially to snacks like potato chips or “low-sodium” products in the form of the controversial monosodium glutamate. Check out this 2-minute video for more information on umami.
Today, I present you an entirely animal-free soup, suitable for vegans, where the main flavouring is miso, a fermented soybean paste – and a source of umami flavour.
I’ve used shimeji mushrooms, which may still be difficult to find in Europe, so feel free to replace them with your favourite variety.
Also, I’ve chosen rice noodles as they only had two ingredients – rice flour and water. Other thicker, yellow-ish varieties are usually made with eggs.
The addition of tofu means this soup isn’t lacking in protein. Using a silken variety is
A warming and nourishing vegan meal-in-a-bowl, with noodles, mushrooms and leeks, flavoured with miso paste.
- 1 large leek
- 250 g mushrooms
- 250 g silken tofu
- 200 g rice noodles
- 3 tbsp miso paste
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 2 l water
Heat a large pot with a dash of olive oil.
Slice the leek and add it to the pot. Cook under medium heat, until it starts becoming translucent.
Wash the mushrooms. Cut them into thick slices (for shimeji or other thin, long mushrooms, skip this step). Add them to the pot along with the soy sauce and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add water, noodles, tofu and miso paste. Cook for 10 minutes or until the noodles are soft, stirring occasionally. Make sure the miso paste dissolves completely.
Serve immediately in soup bowls. If you wish, garnish with chopped spring onions.