This is the last of my Expecting Eats series written while I was expecting as we had the baby! But considering the postpartum nutritional needs of recovering & breastfeeding women, this is still on my menu (and has been for years). At the beginning of my pregnancy, I developed a recurring craving for this soba miso soup with plenty of spicy kick, shiitakes, and seasonal greens. My roots may be Southern American, but my pantry has a strong Japanese influence: kombu for dashi sits next to my sorghum and sticky rice keeps company with the grits.
For this quick, simple soup I keep it vegetarian and make my base broth with kombu, ginger, and garlic, and then I whisk in virtually my entire pantry: miso, mirin, sake, shoyu, sesame oil, ponzu, and chili paste along with the veggies, a bit of silky tofu if I’m in the mood, and lastly, a soft-boiled local egg, & a big swirl of soba noodles. I top it with a sprinkling of homemade togarashi powder (otherwise known as shichimi, it’s a spicy blend of sancho pepper, orange peel, sesame seed, nori, chili, and ginger) or just sesame seeds, chili flakes, & a bit of crumbled nori if I’m out of the former.
Finally, I slurp it (one must slurp noodles) down with a glass of milk to balance the spice (fact: the casein in milk binds to capsaicin oil and washes it down…hence milks “cooling effect” when eating spicy foods). As it turns out, that craving was an intuitively balanced meal both on the palette and nutritionally. Milk brought much needed vitamin D and calcium to the table while the buckwheat noodles brought protein & iron along with a slew of essential minerals. Not to mention the benefits of the probiotics in the miso and the obvious good of dark, leafy greens. It was a win all around. I wish I could say the same of some of my other pregnancy cravings…
Life with the baby is a blur. There’s so much to do, and I can no longer tell what I have to do from what I want to do. I, for better or worse, don’t have much of a say in the matter. For now, I’ll enjoy the stolen quiet of making soup, and continue in my efforts to reimagine my former life on this side of parenthood. Baby steps for both her & me.
- 3 sheets kombu
- 6 cups spring water
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 1 thumb size knob of ginger, roughly chopped
- 6 tablespoons red miso
- 1 tablespoon ponzu
- 1 tablespoon red chili paste (like sambal oelek)
- dash of toasted sesame oil
- 1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms (or other mushroom)
- 1/2 cup chopped silken tofu
- 1 cup chopped kale (or other dark, leafy green)
- 2 chopped scallions for garnish
- 4 servings cooked soba noodles
- 4 soft boiled eggs
- togarashi powder or sesame seeds & chili flakes to garnish
- To make dashi broth put the kombu in the water, and bring it to a simmer over medium low. This should take about 20 minutes; do not allow it to boil or it will become slimy & bitter. Once it comes to a bare simmer, remove kombu with a slotted spoon.
- Add crushed garlic and roughly chopped ginger. Simmer an additional 15 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.
- In a small bowl mix 6 tablespoons of miso until dissolved. Add 1 tablespoon of ponzu, chili paste, and a dash of toasted sesame oil. Return to dashi broth.
- Bring broth to a bare simmer and add mushrooms, tofu, and kale. Simmer a minute or two.
- Place soba in bowls and ladle soup over the noodles. Top with an egg & a sprinkling of togarashi or a mixture of sesame seeds and chili flaked.
A thanks to got milk? for partnering with us for this post! As is clear by the name of this blog…I’m a big fan of milk!