And so I progressed in my Japanese cooking. After two dishes so far, I sort of understood what are the much needed ingredients which oozes out the "Boom and Bang" factors for Japanese food. I paid quite a substantial amount buying the essential ingredients and went round in circles in search of dashi powder, sake and mirin. These ingredients are now sitting in my already crowded pantry, together with many other ingredients I have been stocking up in my quest of trying out new recipes.
All is not wasted because I cook very often and eventually I will find ways of using up these ingredients. My other half indirectly hinted that I am becoming obsessed with cooking but don't you think he should be happy that he gets to taste different varieties of food? Although he does not admit, I can see that he loves the thrill of eating the food I cook, all laid out neatly on our dining table. When asked for comments on the taste of the food, I will only hear the standard answer, that being "OK". If probed further, the next will be "Not too bad". But if the food is not according to his liking, he can immediately spot the missing elements in the taste. I rather accept his honest than superficial feedback.
The non-approved dish will be prepared again until I it's top notch clearance from him. I don't see a point of sharing beautiful visuals of recipes if the taste is off track. Gosh!! I hope I did not drown you with my long intro but you know what, I am in the mood of writing today. I always feel that anyone, even those who are beginners in cooking should be able to make a soup and you can. Get ready with the ingredients, steady with adding them in a pot and simmer. Done, go ahead and sip into this mild and smooth tasting soup - a combo of lotus root, mushrooms and white tofu.
300g lotus root - remove skin and sliced into rings
1 small leek - sliced
200g dried black mushrooms - soaked to soften and sliced
1 piece white tofu - cubed into medium size pieces
Spring onions for garnishing
For the soup base
1/2 liter water
2 tbsp dashi powder
2 tbsp mirin
3 tbsp sake
1 tsp sugar
Salt and white pepper for taste
(Note: If for whatever reason you feel like omitting dashi, mirin and sake, use vegetable stock)
Simmer lotus root with water till soft.
Add the rest of the ingredients except tofu and leeks.
Stir all in and when soup is heated through, add tofu and leeks.
Stir again and just after 2-3 mins, remove from heat.Garnish with spring onions before serving.