Kenchin-jiru (popular Japanese vegetarian soup)

Kenchin-jiru is one of the most popular vegetarian dishes served at home. It’s said to be originally invented at Kencho-ji temple in Kamakura as shojin-ryori (vegetarian cuisine originally derived from the dietry restrictions of Buddhist monks).

It looks like miso-soup, but it’s flavoured with soy sauce and salt (Of course, you can use miso instead, though). There are two secrets: tear tofu instead of cut, and let the soup rest overnight.

Ingredients: 1 pack of tofu (momen-type), 1/2 burdock root, 2/3 carrot, 10cm daikon-radish, 3 eddoes, 5 dried shiitake, 1 pack of konnyaku, 5cm dried kelp, soy sauce, salt, sesame oil

Method:

  1. Drain tofu well.
  2. In a pot, add 1L water and dried kelp. Simmer and turn off the heat just before fully boiled. Take out kelp after a while. This is konbu dashi.
  3. Soak dried shiitake in cold water until soft. Then take out shiitake to slice. This water is to be used as dashi, so don’t throw it away.
  4. Peel all vegetables. Cut daikon radish and carrot in quarter-rounds. Cut eddoes in bite size pieces. Slice burdock root and konnyaku. Tear tofu.
  5. Stir fry all the vegetables except eddoes with sesame oil in a pod. Then add tofu and continue stir fry.
  6. Add konbu dashi (2), the water used to soak shiitake(3) and eddoes. Cook until soft. Remove the scum.
  7. Add soy sauce and salt (Adjust the amount as you like. Make sure to start from the small amount).
  8. Let the soup rest overnight (keep in a fridge after the pot is cooled down).
  9. Heat well before serve.

 

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