Naruto? The white things with the red swirls. Even I was surprised to learn that they are called naruto. I thought all the while that Naruto was the name of a manga series and the boy who dreams of becoming the Hokage (leader) in his village.
I don’t read manga but I have a daughter who’s obsessed with it. In fact, she made me promise that we’ll put the Manga Museum in Kyoto in our itinerary. It turns out that Naruto is also the name of a strait between Awaji Island and the Tokushima Prefecture in Shikoku Island in Japan. If you’re familiar with the location of Kobe, Awaji Island is just south of Kobe.
The naruto in this recipe is narutomaki, a kind of surimi or fish cake made from fish paste. You’ve probably encountered them in your bowl of ramen. The red swirl is just food color. Naruto Straight is famous for its tidal whirlpools and those were what inspired the red swirl in the fish cake. Or so the story goes.
The dried wakame and naruto used in this soup were bought in Taiwan, believe it or not. The wakame and naruto came together in a pack. If you don’t have something similar, you can use dried wakame and fresh naruto. Fresh naruto is sold chilled in Japanese groceries. Just slice and add to the bowl of hot soup.
Vegetables, naruto and mushroom miso soup
- 2 tablespoons miso paste
- 3 cups thinly sliced white cabbage
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- 1 chayote peeled, cored and cut into thin strips
- 2 packets dashi granules
- ¼ cup dried wakame and naruto mix
- 150 grams shimeji mushrooms (white or brown), root ends cut off and discarded
- Boil about seven cups of water in a pot.
- Ladle half a cup of the boiling water into a bowl. Stir in the miso paste until smooth. Set aside.
- Add the cabbage, chayote and tomatoes to the boiling water. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the mushrooms and cook for another five to seven minutes, depending on how large the mushrooms are.
- Empty the contents of the dashi packets directly into the pot. Add the dried wakame and naruto. Stir. Turn off the heat.
- Stir in the miso paste. Cover the pot and leave for another 10 minutes to allow the soup to rest and for the wakame and naruto to rehydrate.