I’m a big fan of Makiko Itoh, the genius behind Just Hungry and Just Bento. She has amazing recipes for well known Japanese classics but also for simple dishes you don’t come across outside of Japan that often.
It is through her that I was introduced to this deliciously hearty soup. Perfect for cold winter days but also my go-to-recipe when I’m feeling a bit under the weather. How can you not feel better with a hot bowl of soup in your hands ; )
Kenchinjiru is said to originate from the Buddhist monks of Kencho-ji temple in Kamakura. Burdock root (gobo) is supposedly the key ingredient for this soup, but as it is hard to come by here in the Netherlands I’ve never actually used it. Hihi. I can only say that I l-o-v-e this soup, burdock root or no burdock root. But definitely don’t skip out on the taro cause you’ll be losing way to much umami flavors.
As this recipe originates from a temple it is 100% vegan. The dashi used is super simple to make, all you need is some water, kelp and dried shitake. I could tell you how to, but Makiko does a much better job at it, so just check out the link below for some vegetarian/vegan dashi options.
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 liter vegetarian/vegan dashi
2 medium carrots, peeled
4 small taro roots, peeled
3 small potatoes, peeled
1 sweet potato, peeled
a few lotus root slices
4 medium shitakes (you can re-use the dried ones you used to make the vegetarian dashi)
1 tbsp sesame oil
0.5 tsp salt
Cut all the vegetables in bite size pieces, but not too small.
Heat the sesame oil in a large pot and sir fry the vegetables on medium-high heat for a few minutes, just to caramelize the outsides a bit.
Next submerge all your veggies with the dashi. Add salt and leave to simmer for about 15-20 minutes, just let all those earthy flavors blend together.
Before serving add 1 tsp sake and 1 tsp soy sauce to your bowl. Pour the soup on top and dig in!
*** Variations ***
Play around with the ingredients. Yummy add-ons are daikon, enoki mushrooms, woodear mushrooms, spring onions, kelp, tofu and konyakku.
If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my other recipes here.