1/3of a wholejalapeño very thinly slicedoptional, if you really like some heat
a fewbunchesbok choy, baby bok choy, roasted broccoli or broccolini If using bok choy, put the bottom celery-like part in the broth early and the leaves in the broth at the end.
MISO BASE: Make the miso base by blending all Miso Base ingredients in a food processor. You will have leftover Miso Base to make this decadent soup again. You can freeze half of the miso base or keep it in the fridge. After I am finished processing, I put 1 - 1½ cups (half of the total amount) in a storage container, label & date it and put it in the fridge or freezer.
Press the tofu. You can leave it in the press while you do the next steps.
Carefully, thinly slice the dried mushrooms. If you bought pre-sliced, you can do a light chop on them if you'd like or just break them up with your fingers into smaller pieces.
Make the broth base in a 5 quart pot (if using no-chicken better than bouillon vegetarian base, add 4 cups hot water to 1 TBSP + 1 teaspoon). Then add one more cup of water.
Add the sliced shiitake mushrooms to the pot of broth and let simmer. If using bok choy, slice off celery-like bottoms and add to the pot. Set bok choy leaves aside; you will add them at the end. If you intend to strain out the mushrooms, wait to add any of the bok choy—strain the mushrooms when you are ready to add the rice cakes and add the bok choy bottoms and the rice cakes together.
Let the mushrooms simmer in the broth at least 10 minutes, the longer the better to get the flavors infused and the shrooms to soften.
TOFU: Heat the earth balance in a pan on medium-high heat and start pan-frying the tofu. Once the tofu has yellowed or turned light golden brown on most sides of the cubes, add 1/3 cup of the spicy miso paste. Reduce heat to medium. Coat the tofu and continue pan-searing some more to get a nice amber color. Leave in the hot pan while you finish making the soup.
Place 2/3 cup miso paste into a very fine sieve. You can do this all at once or in two rounds. Lower the sieve half-way into the simmering broth and use a spoon to press and dissolve the paste into the soup. Discard the “solids” remaining in the sieve. You do not want to add the Miso Base directly into the soup, it would be gritty or chunky. To make life easier, rinse the sieve before it dries.
RICE CAKES: Add the rice cakes I recommend pulling them apart prior to adding them to the soup. Let simmer around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The longer the rice cakes are in the broth, the thicker the soup gets. Wait to add the rice cakes if you are not serving the soup right away. It can literally turn into thick gravy.
Then add plant milk to the miso broth pot. If using roasted broccoli or bok choy leaves, add them to the pot right before serving.
TO SERVE: Place soup in bowls, top with your choice of scallions, French's onions, Thai basil, cilantro and the tofu. Garnish with a few drops of toasted sesame oil or sriracha if desired. If you find the soup is too spicy or too salty, add more water or plant milk.
Nutrition information is approximatePre-sliced Shitakes One thing we did notice about the pre-sliced Shitakes is that some of them, which seemed like the stem bits, don't hydrate well, even if you leave them in the broth a long time. The mushrooms flavor the broth giving it earthy, umami goodness, so if you are not super into mushrooms, you could strain them out and discard them if desired. I have a friend who hates mushrooms, so if I make this for her I will definitely remove the mushrooms from the broth.Oat or Almond Milk I use unsweetened, original oat or almond milk. I find it creates the best broth. I've made this with unsweetened, original soy milk and the result was a little too thick and more naturally sweet than I would have preferred. Also, make sure that your plant-milk is original flavored and not vanilla because you don't want vanilla flavored soup.