About this recipe: Shiitake mushrooms, ginger and a stock made with dried kombu seaweed bring rich savoury flavours to this Oriental broth, which is quick and easy to make. With delicate tofu and slightly peppery watercress, the resulting soup is ideal for a deliciously healthy first course before a stir-fry of mixed vegetables with noodles.
The kombu seaweed can be finely shredded or snipped into fine strips with scissors and returned to the broth, if liked, to add an interesting texture contrast. * For an intense herb flavour, add 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander with the watercress. * As a non-vegetarian alternative to dried kombu seaweed, use dashi stock powder to make the broth in step 1. Dashi is Japanese stock made from kombu seaweed and bonito flakes (dried fish). Alternatively, use a rich vegetable stock (see our recipe on this site) as the base for the soup, giving a different but equally delicious result. * This recipe can be used as the basis of Japanese udon noodle soup with chicken. Bring 1 litre (1¾ pints) chicken stock (preferably home-made, see page 24) to the boil. Stir in the sake and ginger and add 2 tbsp rich soy sauce. Omit the miso. In step 3 add 1 skinless boneless chicken breast (fillet), cut into very fine strips, and 1 packet udon noodles, about 215 g, with the spring onions and mushrooms. Omit the tofu and do not add the watercress at this stage. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 2 minutes or until the chicken strips are cooked. Then add the watercress and cook gently for 1 minute.
Research suggests that the humble soya bean is a powerhouse of disease-fighting ingredients. Soya beans and their products, such as tofu and miso paste, are rich in compounds called phytoestrogens. Growing evidence suggests that a diet rich in phytoestrogens can help to protect against heart disease, breast and prostate cancer, and osteoporosis (brittle bones). Eating soya products can also help to relieve many of the symptoms associated with the menopause.
calcium * A, C, copper, iron