Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Kenchinjiru is a hearty vegetable soup that originates from the Buddhist monks of Kencho-ji temple in Kamakura. If you'd like to read a little more about the soup or the temple, check out this link.

I used the recipe from Makiko at Just Hungry, but tweaked it a bit here and there.
Apparently one of the main ingredients is burdock root, but I couldn't find any so I omitted that. I also left out the tofu crumble. To compensate I added some regular potatoes and lotus root. I also added a drizzle of sake to my bowl before serving the soup. I feel this gives it just a bit of extra punch :)

I have to say, those monks were awesome, cause this is a super yummie soup! It's perfect for cold winter day's when you need a little something to warm you inside and out. I especially love the sweet taste of the carrots and taro root (satoimo). It has a great contrast with the saltiness of the broth.

I also learned a new word today: umami. This meaning something similar to "a pleasant savory taste" or a general way of describing "delicious food". Let me tell you this kenchinjiru is full of umami! So make sure you try it this winter.

1200 ml vegetarian dashi
1 medium daikon
2 medium carrots
3 small taro roots (satoimo)
3 small potatoes
some frozen lotus root slices
4 medium dried shitakes (you can re-use the ones you used to make the vegetarian dashi)
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sake

Peel all vegetables and cut in bite size pieces.

Heat the sesame oil in a large pot and sir fry the vegetables for 4-5 minutes.

Add the vegetarian dashi so all the vegetables are submerged. Add the salt and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Top with some more dashi or water if necessary. Once all vegetables are tender add 1 tbsp soy sauce.

You can add all the soy sauce to the soup if you want, but I prefer to add 1/2 a tsp or so with some sake to my serving bowl and then pour the soup on top. This way all the vegetables retain their hearty flavor and everyone can season the soup to their own taste. Don't add the sake directly to the pot cause it will just evaporate.

Now dig in!

P.S. This was also my first time making vegetarian dashi as well. And I was amazed it was so easy!
You just leave your kombu and shitake to soak and simmer and tadaa your veggie dashi is ready.

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