If you’re like me, you’re probably feeling stuffed from all the recent holiday eating (for me it was lots of turkey and lots of baking that did me in). And like many others, one of your new year resolutions is probably to lose weight and eat healthier.
To help you toward that end, here’s a soup recipe that I created using some of the season’s ingredients found at my local farmers market. I started with kale, the hearty green vegetable that has a lot of health benefits. I was never a fan of kale when it was made into all those health supplements, but when eaten fresh I find it to be a nice dark green alternative.
Another seasonal ingredient are wild mushrooms, specifically maitake mushrooms that I find so mysterious, almost resembling coral. Throw in some tofu and this soup just gets healthier and healthier. For fun, I serve this soup with grilled musubi (rice balls) that I make with my handy-dandy musubi mold (which is widely available in Hawaii and any city with a Japantown.) The extra step of grilling the rice balls give it a crunchy rice edge while the inside is still fluffy soft. Enjoy!
Side note: I used carrots as a base for some sweetness to the soup, and I was enthralled by some purple heirloom carrots that I saw at the market. I didn’t realize it would turn my soup pinkish-purple! So while purple carrots might sound interesting, you might want to use regular orange ones, unless you like eating purple food!
Kale and Tofu Soup Recipe
Makes 4 to 5 servings
2-3 cups fresh kale, cut across into thin strips
1 container of tofu (buy box marked “silken” or “soft”), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup fresh maitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 large carrot or 2-3 small carrots, diced
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 t grated fresh ginger
3-4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup water
2 T cornstarch
2 T extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan or pot, warm olive oil over medium high heat, then add onion and carrots. Saute until onions are translucent, about three minutes. Then add vegetable stock and water and reduce heat to simmer. Cook until carrots are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Add kale, ginger and mushrooms to the soup and cook for about 10 minutes. Then finish with the last ingredient – tofu. The tofu is added last because it’s so soft it will break apart as you stir, so you want to add it when the soup is nearly done and you won’t be doing as much stirring.
Finish the soup by adding salt and pepper to taste and then thicken the soup with cornstarch slurry. Create the slurry by adding about a 1/4 cup of water to the 2 tablespoon of cornstarch and then mix until the cornstarch is dissolved. Bring the soup to a boil and then stir in cornstarch a little at a time until it thickens to a consistency that you like. (You may end up not using all the slurry if it thickens to what you like quickly.)
Remove from heat and serve with grilled musubi. To make grilled musubi, cook sushi-grade short grain white rice and then add a teaspoon of salt to the cooked rice in a bowl. Blend and then create rice balls (traditionally in a triangle shape). Heat a grill pan that you’ve wiped with olive oil and then grill the rice balls over high heat, about 3 minutes on each side. (Use a spatula to help flip the ball.) Garnish with shredded nori (dried seaweed).
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