Umami-rich Japanese soup with vegan dashi and udon, is based on the Japanese retept for kenchinjiru (Japanese vegetable soup) けんちん汁. This Japanese vegetable soup is cooked in Buddhist temple kitchens as a clear soup made from root vegetables, tofu, shiitake mushrooms and a vegan kombu broth. It’s a balanced, meatless, flavorful and heartwarming soup for cold nights.
While most Japanese dishes call for “dashi” fish broth, this soup uses kombu and shiitake mushrooms to flavor the broth.
Vegetables in Kenchinjiru
Although the typical ingredients are different types of root vegetables, you can use almost any vegetable. Take a look around in Asian supermarkets, because many ingredients are easily accessible there, even for us Europeans. It doesn’t matter whether the supermarket prefers Japanese, Chinese or Korean cuisine.
Variations of Kenchinjiru
The original soup is a clear soup with soy sauce. However, you can also make them with miso, especially if you prefer a stronger flavor to your broth.
Of course you can also add chicken or pork. However, we like our kenchinjiru very simply, with only vegetables and no meat. Despite being a vegan/vegetarian soup, it’s packed with flavor and aroma from the veggies and our vegan dashi broth. There are also crunchy vegetables such as wild asparagus, gobo (Japanese burdock root, similar to our black salsify), daikon radish and carrot. The shiitake mushrooms and tofu also soak up all the flavors in the soup and you can savor the delicate flavors as you bite into them.
Ingredients for vegan shiitake dashi:
- 15g kombu
- 30g dried shiitake
- 1 liter of warm water
You need 2 vessels that can hold about half a liter of liquid.
Put the kombu (also called konbu) in a bowl. Please DO NOT wash off the algae! The white spots are normal and add flavor to our brew. Now pour half a liter of warm water on the kombu.
In the second container, pour the warm water over the dried shiitake mushrooms.
Now let everything steep for at least 2 hours (preferably overnight). Then pour the brew from both vessels through a sieve, catching the broth. Don’t forget to squeeze the mushrooms. Now pour both liquids together and the vegan dashi is ready…
Heating method in the recipe!
Only kombu dashi works, but your dashi made with kombu and dried shiitake mushrooms will do better. This combination is the most common variant for making vegetarian/vegan dashi stock. However, it is by no means uncommon to use other ingredients to enhance flavor and complexity. Examples of such additional ingredients are dried pumpkin, dried daikon or dried carrot peel. All ingredients that contain umami (without glutamate).
Play with the amounts of the different ingredients to find the flavor strength of your dashi broth. You can get the best umami flavor from the shiitake mushrooms.
The recipe for the ramen eggs “Ajitsuke Tamago” can be found here!
if you like our Japanese soup with vegan dashi, you may also be interested in these recipes:
- Chickpea Cabbage Curry
- exotic sweet potato kohlrabi soup
- Stewed cucumber curry the Ayurvedic way
- ayurvedic ginger basil lemonade
- Ayurvedic Chickpea Zucchini Curry
Japanese soup with vegan dashi recipe
Ingredients for the vegan dashi broth:
- 15 grams kombu*
- 30 grams dried shiitake*
Vegetables of your choice, for example (CAN):
- Pak choi
- Napa cabbage Chinese cabbage
- leaf spinach
- water spinach
- wild asparagus
- spring onions
- smoked tofu*
- vegetable oil to fry
- 1 Onion
- udon noodles* or ramen
- Soy sauce*
- Orange zest from an orange
- Sesame oil* or walnut oil
- kosher salt*
- Ramen Eggs >> to the recipe
- small Bunch of coriander
quick vegan dashi broth:
- Do not wash kombu (also known as konbu)! The white spots are normal and add flavor to our brew. So put on algae with 1000 ml of cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes.
- Add the dried shiitake to the broth and reduce the heat. Steep the broth for 10 minutes more than simmer because we only need the flavor from the shiitake mushrooms.
- Now pass the broth through a sieve. Return to the pot, simmer gently and add soy sauce to taste.
- Wash the vegetables of your choice and cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Peel onion and cut into wedges.
- Cut the tofu into cubes that are not too small.
- Heat vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Put the tofu cubes in the hot pan and fry on all sides.
- Remove tofu from pan and set aside.
Finish and set up:
- Thinly slice the orange zest from the fruit. Put them in the broth and let them steep for about a minute. Remove.
- Prepared onion wedges soak in the broth until soft.
- Then add the vegetables (possibly a few more fresh shiitake) to the broth while holding back the finer vegetables. Cook until soft while stirring.
- Warm the udon noodles in the broth.
- If the vegetables are to your liking, divide the soup into bowls.
- Place the tofu in each bowl.
- Finally, drizzle a few drops of sesame oil over the soup, scatter the plucked coriander leaves and serve immediately.