Kenchinjiru (建長汁) was originally a type of shojin ryori eaten by buddhist monks. Made with a flavorful vegan stock and plenty of crumbled tofu and vegetables.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
dried shiitake mushrooms
Lightly rinse the dried shiitake mushrooms and put them in a bowl with 2 1/2 cups of boiling water. Let them soak for 30 minutes. Save the soaking liquid, squeezing out the excess water from the shiitakes and chop them up for inclusion with your other vegetables.
Roughly chop your vegetables into sizes that will take just about the same amount of time to cook. For instance carrots are harder than turnips so I cut them smaller. You want a mix of vegetables that have flavor otherwise your soup will be watery. I used a combination of carrots, baby turnips, burdock, edamame, and fresh shiitake mushrooms.
Add the oil to a pot and heat over high heat. Add the vegetables along with the brown sugar and stir-fry the vegetables until very fragrant (5-10 minutes).
Deglaze the pot with the sake, allowing the alcohol to burn off, then pour the reserved shiitake soaking liquid into the pot, but don't pour in the sediment at the bottom of the bowl in as it will probably contain sand.
Add the tofu, kombu, soy sauce and salt to the pot and turn down the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook the kenchinjiru until the vegetables are tender and the soup is flavorful (about 20-30 minutes). Adjust salt to taste, garnish with mitsuba and serve.