Japanese inspired food is a big hit with us and this delicious Monkfish and Ginger soup from Drew Smith’s book Broth to Bowl, is based on a Japanese Stock called Dashi. It is made using dried kelp or ‘kombo’ which lends body to the liquid – what is often referred to as ‘umami’, or the fifth sense of taste.
JAPANESE BONITO BROTH (Makes 1 Litre)
This is dashi, the basic Japanese cooking broth for all clear soups, which is simply kombu seaweed water infused with dried tuna flakes. The glutamates in the seaweed create the sense of ‘umami’. It is most familiar as the basis for miso soup.
- Soak the kombu in 1 litre of water and slowly bring to a simmer.
- The moment it starts to boil, take it off the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes (or longer).
- Add the bonito flakes and infuse for another 5 minutes.
COOK’S TIP: You can re-use the kombu in other recipes. Combine four parts of dashi to one of soy, one of mirin and one of brown sugar to make a dipping sauce or use it as a base for noodles.
MONKFISH WITH GINGER (Serves 4)
Dashi works perfectly as a poaching broth for the monkfish. Never boil the broth; keep everything just below boiling.
- 2 shallots
- 1 Clove of garlic
- Bunch of spring onions
- Thumb-length piece of ginger
- 2 shitake mushrooms
- 1⁄2 Red pepper
- 340g monkfish fillet
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1L JAPANESE BONITO BROTH (See recipe on left of page)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 lime
- Coriander leaves to garnish
- Peel and dice the shallot and garlic.
- Chop the spring onions.
- Peel and slice the ginger.
- Trim the mushrooms and cut the pepper into thin shards.
- Remove the skin from the monkfish and cube the flesh.
- Heat a wok or large sauté pan and moisten with the vegetable oil.
- Add the shallot, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 3 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the Japanese bonito broth, soy sauce and the juice from the lime.
- Lay the fish fillet pieces in carefully and cover.
- Let it cook very gently over a low heat. How long you cook it for depends on the thickness of the fish, but you want to be as gentle as possible, so that it cooks as the broth drops in temperature.
- Lastly add the red pepper, mushroom and spring onions.
- Finish with coriander leaves to garnish.