This is a broth that I learned in Japan at a Buddhist temple restaurant. It’s a little “out there” for those who don’t know Japanese food, but I like it because it’s vegetarian, which dashi is not, and a perfect broth for delicate vegetables, like young spinach, accompanied by a little tofu and some soba noodles. It’s also a little more complicated than dashi stock, but there’s nothing tricky about it. I use a special green tea, called Genmai Cha, that has roasted rice added to it. It’s an intriguing blend. Some of the rice “pops” like popcorn. Green tea by itself has a somewhat bitter flavor, and the roasted rice softens and rounds it out. You can find Genmai Cha at Asian and Japanese markets and in the surprising number of new specialty tea shops that are springing up around the country in response to the latest information about the health benefits of tea. A clear glass pitcher or large, empty juice bottle is useful here.
Place the Tea and ginger in a nonreactive pot (stainless steel or enamel are fine, but uncoated cast iron or aluminum are not) and pour the boiling water over them. Steep for 2 or 3 minutes, then stir in the miso and soy sauce. Steep for about another 3 minutes, then strain through a fine mesh strainer. Transfer the mixture to a tall, narrow glass container and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. Miso solids will fall to the bottom and you’ll have a bright, clear liquid on top. (That’s why you need a tall, narrow, clear glass container; it’s practical, not mystical.) Carefully pour off the liquid, leaving the solids behind. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To use, reheat and add drops of sesame oil to taste, if desired.
© 2004 John Ash. All rights reserved.