Sparkling Bowl

Sawani Wan

Here thin threads of colorful vegetables float in a clear sea broth that has been enriched by the addition of finely shredded pork. Fragrant pepper provides a glittering and aromatic final accent. This is an elegant soup—and particularly lovely when served in black lacquerware lidded bowls.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups dashi (Basic Soup Stock)
  • ½ teaspoon usu kuchi shōyu (light soy sauce)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ounces lean pork loin
  • ½ small carrot
  • ½ small boiled bamboo shoot (use bottom only; save comblike top for another use)
  • 5–6 fresh snow peas
  • teaspoon sansho (Japanese fragrant pepper)

Method

In a saucepan, heat the basic soup stock and season it with the light soy sauce and salt.

In order to slice the pork thin, partially freeze the meat first and use a very sharp knife. Slice as thin as possible, then cut across the grain of these slices to make very fine shreds. Pour some boiling water into a small bowl and add the pork, stirring to separate the shreds. Drain the pork and add it to the seasoned soup stock. Keep the stock barely simmering as you cut the vegetables.

Scrape the carrot and cut it lengthwise into very thin slices. Use the vivid orange outer slices only and cut them into 1½–2-inch-long threads. Slice the bottom of the bamboo shoot into very thin rounds. Trim these into squares and pile several of them on top of each other. Cut the slices into threads. Add the carrot and bamboo threads to the soup and bring it to a boil over high heat. Skim off any froth that rises, reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer, and cook the soup for 3–4 minutes.

Break off the stem of each snow pea and pull it back, removing the string. Blanch the snow peas in boiling salted water for 30 seconds. Drain immediately and plunge them into a bowl of cold water. Remove the snow peas, pat them dry and slice on the diagonal into very fine threads.

Add the snow peas to the soup, remove the saucepan from the heat and serve immediately in individual bowls. Sprinkle a pinch of fragrant pepper over each bowl.

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