janet @ the taste space

Japanese Winter Stew

In Mains (Vegetarian), Soups on March 29, 2011 at 7:23 AM

Japanese Winter Stew

Last week was a bit of a tease. Just two weeks earlierI was lamenting how it would be months before I could take my bike out.  I was shocked when the weather turned around completely, with a few gorgeous spring days with highs around 15C. I quickly brought my bike into the shop to get its annual tune up, and was commuting to work earlier this week. Only to have snow come again the following day. It was such a slap in the face to have spring yanked out from under my bicycle tires!

No use sulking, as there are still lots of great things winter provides, like hearty soups and stews. There are many dishes to warm up the soul when outside is so cold.

Like this Japanese Stew. While I am usually leery of making Japanese recipes from a non-Japanese cookbook, I still ventured to make a Japanese Winter Stew I found in Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health. I swapped the veggies around, though, for a more authentic feel (power to random purchases from Chinatown!), but really, you could throw in any seasonal vegetable. I kept the sweet potato and tofu, but I substituted daikon for the turnip, added in 100g of chopped enoki mushrooms and used 4 oz baby spinach instead of mustard greens. I then topped each serving with chopped green onions and drizzled with a touch of toasted sesame oil. This is a powerhouse of a winter stew, overflowing with vegetables, yet with the comforting miso taste but zippy from the chili flakes and ginger. It balances out so nicely, which is what Japanese cuisine is all about.

This is my submission to this month’s Veggie/Fruit a Month, featuring radishes (including daikon), and to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays.

Japanese Winter Stew

1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups diced onions
1/4 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
1 tbsp grated, peeled ginger
4 cups water
2 pieces kombu (I used a total of 24 square inches (6×4″))
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 cups peeled, chopped daikon (could substitute turnip)
3 cups diced sweet potatoes
100g enoki mushrooms, chopped (optional, this could also be increased)
4 oz baby spinach
420g firm tofu (1 pack), chopped into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup light miso
1-2 green onions, finely chopped (or more, to taste)
1/2 tsp sesame oil

1. In a large soup pot, on medium heat, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onions, chili flakes, and ginger and sprinkle with salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the water, kombu and shiitake mushrooms. Cover, turn heat to high and bring to a boil.

2. Once boiling, add in daikon and sweet potatoes, turn the heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered for 5 minutes. Add in enoki mushrooms, and continue to simmer, covered, for an additional 5 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.

3. Remove the kombu and discard. Remove the shiitake mushrooms and set aside to cool. Add the tofu to the pot. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze out liquid back into pot. Remove stems and finely chop the remainder of the mushroom and return to pot.

4. Remove 1 cup of the broth from the pot and stir in miso until dissolved. You may need to add more broth.

5. Once you have removed all the broth you need to dissolve the miso, add the spinach to the pot. Stir until the spinach wilts. Return miso to pot. After adding the miso, don’t let the stew boil. Drizzle in sesame oil.

6. When serving, top each bowl with green onions.

Serves 6.

  1. This does sound fantastic! And while I agree that the stew is terrific, I can’t find anything positive about winter! 😉

  2. Your Japanese stew looks as beautiful as it sounds tasty! A very healthy and conforting dish, perfect for this in-between season !
    Thanks for sending it to this month a veggie/a fruit a month!

  3. I am saving this recipe for next time I get daikon from my csa. I love all the ingredients!

  4. I have to say, this weather has definitely left me feeling as if I’ve had the wool pulled over my eyes. Guess it’s time to whip those stew and chili recipes back out. Which isn’t such a bad thing really.

    Love what you’ve done with this, especially your changes to authentify it!

  5. Stew looks super inviting ,colourful and delicious..

  6. This looks very healthy, filling and good. I love the variety of veggies and ingredients in it. Thanks for sending it to Souper Sundays this week. 😉

  7. […] I spotted this recipe in Love Soup (Heidi had already posted the recipe here, too), and was impressed that there was nearly a pound of leafy greens in the soup! Plus, there was a sweet potato and ginger, as well, which I knew worked well from my previous Japanese Winter Stew. […]

  8. This sounds like such a wonderful stew! Both light and satisfying.

  9. […] wanted to try something that highlighted the mushroom, instead of adding them to a stew.  I spotted a great recipe in Kansha, the new vegetarian cookbook by Andoh, who also provided the […]

  10. […] I made a Japanese winter stew with a miso-based broth. That kick-started it again. Loved it. It wasn’t the star of the […]

  11. […] and is relatively mild but still has a peppery punch.  While I have cooked with daikon in my Japanese Winter Stew, I don’t have that many daikon recipes. I couldn’t help myself, though, and grabbed a […]

  12. […] in my kitchen! I don’t cook with tofu that often, and if I do, it is usually incorporated into my meal. I’ve made a few stand-alone tofu recipes, and that was […]

  13. […] and Roasted Red Pepper Soup Six Shades of Red Soup (Beet, Potato and Red Lentil Soup with Dill) Japanese Winter Stew Dragon Quinoa Bowl with Roasted Vegetables and a Miso Gravy Asparagus and Carrot Salad with a […]

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