Sunday, January 8, 2012

Asian Root Vegetable Stew

After several posts for breads and desserts, it felt like time to make something super healthy.  This stew is loaded with tofu and veggies. 

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 (1-pound) packages extra-firm tofu
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup (1-inch) peeled and cubed daikon radish
  • 1 cup (1-inch thick) sliced parsnip
  • 1 cup (1-inch) peeled and cubed rutabaga
  • 1 cup (1-inch thick) sliced carrot
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms (about 1/3 ounce)
  • 1 (3-inch) piece kombu seaweed*
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
1. Heat the canola oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion; cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Drain the tofu and cut into 1-inch cubes.  Add to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

2. Add 6 cups water, the daikon radish, parsnip, rutabaga, carrot, soy sauce, mirin, shiitake mushrooms, and kombu.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 35 minutes.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together 6 tablespoons water with the cornstarch.  Add the cornstarch mixture to the stew and return to a boil.  Cook for a final 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Discard the kombu.

4. Stir in the sesame oil, and sprinkle with the green onions.  Ladle the soup into bowls, or serve directly over hot cooked rice.

*If you can't find kombu, substitute 1/4 teaspoon salt to impart sea-salty flavor into the broth.  But don't forget that seaweed is a wonderfully nutritious food to keep around in your pantry, whether for this stew or in general; it's loaded with Vitamins A, E, C, and iodine, to name a few. 

Nutrition Info:
5 servings (about 2 and 1/3 cups), Calories 276

Tasting Notes:
Every little bit of root veggie in this soup was delicious - especially the rutabaga, one of my personal favorites.  I was surprised to find the broth a touch bland, and might go ahead and add a pinch of salt alongside the kombu.  That said, this stew is a super bowl of winter comfort; one bite and I felt like it could cure just about any winter ills.  The tofu was a touch disappointing - very soft and spongy after all that time simmering.  I would saute it in a skillet so that it was crispy on all sides, and add to the stew just before serving.  I would also use half as much tofu and make up the difference with more shiitakes.  I enjoyed the stew both by itself and over rice - the former perfect for lunch, the latter making it a full dinner.


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