This recipe is a adaptation from Alexander Gershberg book Vegan for Friends. It’s a delicious soup that can be eaten as a appetizer or when eaten with soba noodles it’s a full meal. The goal when frying tofu—whether pan-frying or deep frying—is the same as the goal when frying meat or vegetables: to alter the texture and flavor. In the case of tofu, it adds crispness to an otherwise tender food, and adding some rich browning, which brings out tofu’s natural sweetness.
Crispness comes from the dehydration of the outer layer of proteins in tofu slices, while browning occurs when those proteins are exposed to high temperatures. For this recipe you want to use cottony (non-silken), extra-firm tofu, which holds its shape and browns better than other varieties.
Ingredients, 8 people
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 yellow onions, cut into thin half moons
- 1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
- handful of mushrooms, cut into slices
- 1 liter of vegetable stock*
- 300 gram tofu, cut into thin slices, 3-4 cm in length
- 1 sweet corn
- 2 celery stalks, cut into thin slices
- 20 grams instant wakame
- 4 full tbsp white miso
- 5 cm piece of ginger, thinly grated
- 2 spring onion, cut into 1 mm round slices for garnish
Assemble and prepare all ingredients before you start.
Preheat a heavy baking pan with 4cm height of deep frying oil. You want the oil to be very hot before you start frying, that way the tofu will be crispy and not absorb a lot of the oil. Deep fry the tofu for 2-4 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Discard from the oil and let rest on a kitchen paper that will absorb the rests of the oil.
Preheat a cooking pan with sesame oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion for 1-2 minutes. At any point, if the bottom of the pan gets too dry add 1-2 tbsp of water. Add the carrot and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 1 minute.
In the mean time, cut the sweet corn in two. One half you just use the corn and the other half cut into pieces leaving the corn on it.
Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Add the tofu, sweet corn and dashi and bring to a boil. Add the celery, lower the fire, and simmer for 1 minute. Add the instant wakame. With your hand squeeze the juice from the grated ginger into the soup and throw a way the dry grated left overs of the ginger.
Mix the miso paste with a small amount of water from the soup in a separate bowl until you get a smooth mixture that can be added to the soup. now add miso the soup. Miso is very salty so when you wat to go easy on that part you can use less. After adding the miso let the soup simmer for 2 minutes on the lowest fire without boiling.
Grate some more ginger and serve together with the spring onion on top of the soup.
*How to make vegetable stock? Roast 2 yellow onions, 1 large carrot, 1 red onion, 1 large garlic, 1/2 a broccoli or any other taste full vegetable you have in your house in the oven, no need to peel or scrape the vegetables. Put the roasted vegetables in a pan with a lot of water, 3 bay leaves and add some salt and bring to the boil. Let it simmer for at least an hour but the longer the better. Only use the ‘water’ and discard the vegetables since they will have no more taste. You now have a very nice and tastefull vegetable stock which you can use as a base for many kinds of soup. The vegetables will have no more taste or structure so you can not use them for other dishes.