Good ol’ comfort food of the sort that my mom used to make when we were sick. With a few additions, because I have a tendency to overpopulate my soups when the refrigerator needs cleaning out.
Based on… well, just memory, really. Sometimes, you just want to leave the measuring cups behind.
A proper soup would probably start with a dashi (light broth-like soup base) of bonito or sardine. However, I didn’t feel like going through the process of soaking dried fish and sieving the liquid. This was about fast and easy, after all. I usually have a stack of frozen seafood stock boiled down from the scraps and carcasses of previous dinners, however, so that did the job nicely. This is a block of rich prawn stock melting away, about 4 cups worth.
Meanwhile, 4 table carrots were peeled and sliced to bite-sized bits.
A cup of frozen peas were left out to defrost a bit.
A box of firm tofu was also cut into bite-sized bits. The easiest way to accomplish this is to just keep the block of tofu in the box, then make a grid with your knife right in there and start scooping the pieces out. Or if you don’t care for knives, spooning pieces out also works. Really, aren’t you rather tired of seeing those precise little rubbery cubes? Give your tofu some personality.
Dig up some dried soup seaweed and a couple packets of instant udon noodles, and we’re good to go!
Add 2 cups of water, carrots, peas, and 3 teaspoons of dried seaweed to the heated seafood stock. Actual measurements to be tailored to individual tastes, of course. Let the veggies cook and the seaweed rehydrate while the water gets back to boiling.
While waiting for the soup to heat up, I cubed two fillets of salmon into nice bite-sized pieces.
When the soup reaches a boil, turn down the heat to low and get out your miso paste. I ended up using about 6 tablespoons — roughly about one per cup of liquid — but individual preferences vary along with how salty your particular paste might be. Best to start low and work your way up than end up with something inedibly salty. Some people advocate melting the paste in a separate bowl with some spooned-out broth. I find it easier and less messy to just stick a glop of the stuff in a strainer and wave the strainer around in the soup until it all melts through.
The tofu and udon noodles can be tossed in to cook at low for another 5-10 minutes now. However long it takes for everything to heat through, mostly.
Out come the serving bowls. We like our salmon on the raw to lightly-cooked side here, so I piled one fillet’s worth of fish cubes at the bottom of the bowl to be poached from the soup’s heat.
A serving’s worth of the solid bits (veggies and noodles and such) gets piled on top of the fish.
And a raw egg is cracked on top of that, to also be poached in the soup. Some people stir it into the soup and let it cook thoroughly in an egg-drop type manner before eating. I rather like eating the yolk whole, but once again that is personal preference.
Add in as much steaming broth as you desire.
Cover and let sit to cook a bit. About 10 minutes is good.
You can see that the salmon has pretty much cooked through by this point. This whole thing probably took about 20 minutes from beginning to end, hit all the food groups, and received a thumbs up from the taste tester to boot. Not bad for a lazy clean-up day meal 🙂