Photograph by Keirnan Monaghan Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Kabocha Miso Stew

Mains from Issue 4 – Fall / Winter 2014 – Cocoon

Miso, rich in vitamins and antioxidants, is “Dr. Feelgood” in condiment form. Wellness aside, it’s the taste—an elusive umami quality at once rich, savory, salty, and nutty—that’s the real phenom. And it’s packed into our hearty stew alongside spinach and kabocha.

serves 4

  • 1 Tbsp dried hijiki
  • 1 (14 oz) container firm tofu, drained
  • 3 Tbsp mirin
  • ½ cup plus 1 Tbsp soy sauce, divided
  • 1 smashed clove garlic and 2 cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 lb piece kabocha pumpkin, unpeeled, seeded, and cut into thin (1⁄4-inch) wedges
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil, divided
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups sliced Napa cabbage
  • a handful spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup white miso paste (not sweet)

  • 1

    Rinse hijiki in cold water. Place in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside. Cut tofu into 8 slices and blot between paper towels.

  • 2

    Bring mirin, ½ cup soy sauce, 1½ cups water and smashed garlic to a simmer. Add kabocha; simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand.

  • 3

    Meanwhile, sauté onion in 1 Tbsp oil in another saucepan over medium heat until soft and translucent. Stir in carrots and chopped garlic, and cook 2 minutes. Add 4 cups water and remaining Tbsp soy sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes.

  • 4

    While broth simmers, heat remaining Tbsp oil in a skillet and sear tofu until golden.

  • 5

    Gently stir cabbage into broth and cook until almost tender, about 3 minutes. Drain hijiki and stir into pot along with spinach. Mix miso with a little broth to loosen, then stir into pot.

  • 6

    Drain squash, reserving cooking liquid. Serve tofu and squash in bowls with miso broth. Sprinkle with a little soy cooking liquid as desired.