Broth with Squid and Vegetables

Inochi Wan

I first sampled this invigorating soup in Wajima, at the tip of the Noto Peninsula, which juts out into the Sea of Japan. It was part of my morning meal, served in a lovely ceramic pot set upon a portable burner. The woman serving it told me that this broth is reputed to cure hangover as well as restore sapped energy from arduous travels. After a long hot bath in a deep cedar tub and a night of sound sleep on downy futon mattresses, I didn’t really need to be “restored,” but I enjoyed the soup so much, I want to share it with you.

You may prefer to serve the broth on a chilly evening. It’s an especially good way to use trimmed-away portions of squid from other recipes such as Squid and Endive Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette.

Ingredients

  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • legs and side flaps from several squid, about 4 ounces
  • 12 square inches dashi kombu (kelp for stock making)
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1 tablespoon saké (Japanese rice wine)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (syrupy rice wine)
  • 2 small white turnips, about 2 ounces each
  • 1 bunch (about ounces) enokidaké (slender creamy white mushrooms) or other fresh wild mushrooms
  • 2 slender scallions

Method

  1. Sprinkle the salt over the squid pieces and rub it in well. Rinse the squid under cold water and pat it dry. (This salting improves the texture and flavor of the squid.)
  2. Place the squid in a saucepan with the kelp and cold water. Bring the water quickly to a boil over high heat. Remove the kelp, and lower the heat to maintain a steady simmer. Season the broth with the rice wine, soy sauce, and syrupy rice wine, and cook for 5-6 minutes. Then strain the broth through a cloth- or paper-lined colander into a clean saucepan.
  3. Peel the turnips and cut them into ½-inch chunks. Add them to the strained broth and simmer for 2 minutes, until barely tender. Skim away any froth.
  4. Rinse the bunch of mushrooms well under running cold water. Shake off excess moisture, and trim away the bottom half of the stems. Toss these mushrooms into the simmering broth and cook for 1 minute. Skim away any froth, and remove the pan from the heat.
  5. Trim the scallions and cut them, on the diagonal, into thin slices. Stir them into the broth, and serve immediately.

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