When vegetarian food is good, you don't miss meat. This miso soup fits the bill; here it's been "beefed up" with some hearty pearl barley and pumpkin.
- 10 gm dried wakame (see note)
- 300 ml vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp dashi powder (see note)
- 115 gm (½ cup) pearl barley
- 500 gm butternut pumpkin (about ½), cut into 2cm pieces
- 2 tbsp shiro miso paste (see note)
- 1Soak dried wakame in cold water until soft (10 minutes), drain and pat dry with absorbent paper. Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan over high heat to 180C. Cut wakame into 5cm pieces and fry in batches (be careful, oil will spit) until light-green and crisp (1-2 minutes). Drain on absorbent paper and set aside.
- 2Combine dashi powder and 3 litres water in a large saucepan, bring to the boil over high heat, add barley, reduce heat to medium and simmer until nearly tender (15 minutes). Add pumpkin and cook until pumpkin and barley are tender (20-30 minutes).
- 3Combine miso paste and 60ml liquid from the soup in a bowl to dissolve, then add miso mixture back to soup and stir to combine (don’t allow soup to boil). Remove from heat and serve immediately topped with fried wakame.
Note Dried wakame, dashi powder and shiro miso paste are available from Japanese grocers.