During those winter months when eating locally is a challenge in chillier climates, this soup is a warming winner. Cultivated mushrooms - or, if you're a serious and lucky locavore, even wild mushrooms you dried from an ample foraging session - and cabbage provide tons of flavor and texture along with protein from tofu and deep flavor from buckwheat soba noodles. Like most soups, it's a flexible recipe - feel free to play around with the flavors and ingredients to make it your favorite.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: Makes 4 servings
- 4 to 6 cups broth (chicken, pork, vegetable, or dashi are all good choices)
- 1 cup sake
- 1/2 cup mirin
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 3 cups shredded Napa cabbage
- 1/2 lb. shiitake mushrooms
- 1/2 lb. oyster mushrooms
- 1/2 lb. wild arugula (regular arugula or spinach would also work just fine, although with less bite)
- 1 lb. tofu (firm, soft, silken – whatever you like) cut into three or four big pieces
- 1/2 lb. soba noodles
- Some type of chile powder for garnish (optional)
- Heat the broth in a medium pot. Add the sake, mirin, and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for about 10 minutes (you want to cook off the alcohol in the sake). Taste and adjust seasoning - adding more mirin for sweetness or more soy for salt, if you like.
- Add the cabbage, cover, and cook until the cabbage is completely wilted, about 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and trim and cut the mushrooms into bite-size pieces if they are large.
- Add the mushrooms to the broth, cover, and cook until the mushrooms and cabbage are tender, about 8 minutes. Add the arugula, cover, and cook until the arugula leaves are wilted, about 3 minutes. Put large pieces of tofu on top of everything else, cover, and simmer until tofu is heated through, about 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the soba noodles in the boiling salted water until they're tender to the bite. Drain the noodles and divide them between 4 large bowls.
- Top the noodles with the vegetables, one piece of tofu each, and plenty of broth. Garnish with chile powder, if you like.
Makes 4 servings Mushroom Soba Noodle Soup.