June 22, 2009

komatsuna mushroom noodle soup

We've had a string of rainy days in Boulder that made us want some soup. I made this using komatsuna and mushrooms from the farmers market.

1 T. canola oil
2 small spring shallots (or onion)
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 T. ginger, minced (frozen or fresh)
6 c. water
3-4 t. bouillon/reduced stock
1 c. small dried mushrooms
2 T. mirin
2 T. rice vinegar
2 T. soy sauce
1 lb. Komatsuna
8 oz. rice noodles (fettucine width)
1/4 c. almonds, ground
4 T. miso paste
1 T. sesame oil

In a large soup pot, saute shallots in canola oil for a minute or two. Add the garlic and ginger. When they start to stick to the bottom, add water and stock. Add mushrooms, mirin, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Chop and add the komatsuna stems, then chop the komatsuna leaves and add. This will give the stems a little bit more time to cook. Wait until the komatsuna looks fully cooked, then add the rice noodles and cook until they are soft. Then, remove from heat and add the ground almonds, miso paste, and sesame oil. The ground almonds add some creaminess to the soup. Dissolving the miso paste can be difficult. It may help to remove a cup or two of the soup liquid to mix with the miso. The sesame oil gives the soup nice sparkling orange oil bubbles floating on top. Top notch!

Side Note:
I used homemade vegetable stock. I saved up onion, garlic, green onion, and maybe a few radish scraps in the freezer. When it came time to make the stock, I fried the scraps in some oil until browned and then added some water. I cooked it down and added a few dashes of soy sauce. The reduced stock doesn't freeze solid, so cubes won't work. I froze it in a small tub so I could scoop out a tablespoon whenever I needed it. And I ended up using it all in this soup! The strength of the stock depends on what you put in it and how much you boil the water down. I estimated this was equivalent to 3-4 boullion cubes or teaspoons of boullion paste. You could use a dashi stock for a more authentically Japanese soup.


  1. You two really enjoy all aspects of your food. I enjoy that you enjoy your food. I think it brings more enjoyment.

    I am going to take a stab at mushroom cultivation this summer. Would either of you happen to know something about that?

    -Justin C

  2. I would ask Ros--I think she might have done it.

    The Hazel Dell website describes the process in detail, but it is on a large scale:

    Inoculate a mix of sawdust/water/wheat bran with mycelium cultures. Let the culture grow throughout the sawdust. Then simulate a transition from "dry summer" to "wet fall" to get mushrooms. It sounds like keeping a sterile environment is important.