NAPPEI-JIRU, JAPANESE VEGETABLE SOUP
I often forget that tofu, or bean curd, is actually made from soybeans. When I first made this soup, adzuki beans were virtually unobtainable. I substituted kidney beans, which
are the same color and have a similar flavor. While I use chicken broth, it would be more authentic – and vegetarian – to use konbu dashi.
Makes 8 cups (2 L); 6 First-Course Servings
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For the Flavored Bean Curd:
3/4 cup basic chicken stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 teaspoons sugar
Two 1/4-pound pieces firm silken tofu
For the Soup:
8 large or 12 small dried shiitake mushrooms
6 cups chicken stock
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 cup peeled, diced turnip
1 cup cooked adzuki beans or red kidney beans (see Note) or drained and rinsed canned beans
1/4 pound daikon (mouli), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or less if using commercial broth
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 medium scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced across on the diagonal
|For the Tofu:
In a small saucepan, bring the stock, soy sauce, and sugar to a boil. Add the tofu.
Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and reserve.|
|For the Soup:
Soak the mushrooms in 2 cups warm water for 20 minutes. Drain; strain and reserve the liquid.
Discard the mushroom stems and slice the mushroom caps across into thin strips.|
In a medium saucepan, bring the stock or dashi to a boil. Stir in the carrot and turnip.
Return to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the beans, tofu,
mushrooms, daikon, soy sauce, and salt.|
Dissolve the cornstarch in the reserved mushroom soaking liquid. Stir into the soup and
return to a boil. Sprinkle the scallions over the soup just before serving.|
|Note About the Beans: Either start with unsoaked beans or drain soaked beans.
Rinse the beans and place in an appropriately sized pot. Add fresh water to cover by 2 inches, or the amount called for in
the specific recipe. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 to 3 hours, depending on the type and age of the bean,
until the beans are soft but not bursting.