Shiitake ginger broth with seaweed

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Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Vegetables: The new food heroes


By Peter Gordon

Published 2007

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This soup is by no means hearty but it is very satisfying. It is Japanese in origin, and you can use the basic broth as a starting point for many variations on the theme. Try adding diced tofu or a little miso, sliced cooked chicken or duck, cooked and shelled prawns or crab meat, cooked noodles or even shaved vegetables. You needn’t head to a Japanese supermarket or Chinatown to source the seaweed and dried shiitake, as these can often be bought from health-food shops. Shiitake mushrooms come in many sizes and grades – here I used small Japanese ones the size of a 50p coin – if you find yourself with larger ones, then use a few less. For the seaweed, I use dried kombu (which works rather like a stock cube) and dried mixed sea vegetables.


  • 16 cm piece of dried kombu
  • 16 small dried shiitake mushrooms (or use 10 large ones)
  • 12 fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 thumbs of ginger
  • 6 cm piece of leek
  • very small handful of dried mixed seaweed (sometimes called sea vegetables)
  • 4 tablespoons mirin
  • 125 ml soy sauce (Japanese soy sauce will work better than Chinese in this dish)
  • 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil


Rinse the kombu under cool running water for 20 seconds, rubbing it gently, then pat dry with a doth and place in a saucepan with 1.2 litres of cold water.

Place the dried shiitake in a bowl of tepid water and mix them around with your hand for 30 seconds to dislodge any grit. Leave them for a minute, then add to the saucepan with the kombu, discarding the soaking water.

Break or cut the stalks from the fresh shiitake and add these to the pan, then slice the caps thinly and set aside. Peel all the ginger; slice half very thinly and add to the pan, then finely julienne the rest and set aside.

Slice the leek into 5mm rounds and add two-thirds to the pan. Slowly bring to just below boiling point – but don’t let it actually come to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 8 minutes, then turn the heat off and cover with a lid. Leave to sit for 30 minutes.

Place the sea vegetables in a small bowl and pour over a cupful of water. Strain the soup into a clean pan and add the sliced fresh shiitake caps, ginger julienne, remaining leek, mirin and soy sauce.

Take the dried shiitake, which will have swollen up now, and slice them very thinly, then add these to the pan, discarding the stalks (which can sometimes be woody). Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes. Drain the soaked sea vegetables.

To Serve

Ladle the soup into 4 bowls, adding some of the sea vegetables as you go. Drizzle the sesame oil on top just as you serve it.