waste not: veggie dashi with ginger and turmeric.

October 15, 2018

veggie dashi with ginger and turmeric | reading my tea leaves

Waste Not is a collaboration with my friend, Carrie King. The premise is simple: Carrie, a food writer and editor, shares a recipe highlighting at least one particular way that we can curb food waste. I make it at home, take a bunch of pictures, and share it with everyone here.

I’ll try not to get too carried away with the October metaphors here, but suffice to say, it’s a season where it feels decidedly good to gather your coven. As the days shorten and the news only gets worse, I’ll happily sit over a bubbling cauldron and make an immune-boosting, nutrient-rich brew to help ward off October germs. This week, Carrie gives us the perfect rich broth for healing what ails you—matters of the heart or head or otherwise—and putting to good use all manner of food destined to be forgotten. For my part, I used up the last third of a block of tofu, the leftover tops from a bunch of beets, and two scallions that I’d nearly left to wither in the crisper. veggie dashi with ginger and turmeric | reading my tea leaves

From Carrie:

Most of the time my cooking is driven by a “what do I have on hand” or “what’s in season” thought process. But, let’s face it, there are also the times where I’ve just got a craving and I go to great lengths to scratch that itch. More times than not, those cravings are feeling-related rather than flavor-related. Exhibit A, this nutritious, warm broth because what I crave most these days is comfort.veggie dashi with ginger and turmeric | reading my tea leaves

Lately I’ve been feeling a little bit like I need a hug, but like, constantly. In spite of best efforts, it’s been difficult to find calm in the midst of the nonstop barrage of distressing (to say the least) political, environmental, and just generally break-my-heart-with-disappointment, make-my-blood-boil-with-rage news (looking at you family separation at the border and the most recent slap in the face to women and assault survivors). It’s so constant and always mounting, it’s honestly hard to know at which issue to throw the small amount of energy I have leftover after making sure I am on point in the rest of my life (parenting, family, friends, work, chores, errands, etc). Then I feel like I am not doing enough, which is inevitably followed by guilt and feelings of inadequacy and anxiety that are counterproductive and that I have to talk myself out of. And thus, a vicious, unhealthy cycle.veggie dashi with ginger and turmeric | reading my tea leaves

It is clear that I’m not alone in these feelings, which is comforting in and of itself. But food can be healing, physically and mentally. We cook it to help cure a cold. We bring it to homes when people grieve. We gather around it to connect. And my hope is that with this humble broth, anyone else who feels the same as I do, can be rejuvenated, warmed up, fortified, and maybe even satisfied, even if only for a few moments.veggie dashi with ginger and turmeric | reading my tea leaves

Kombu is dried kelp, one of the many types of seaweed used in Japanese cuisine. Seaweed is a superfood, brimming over with flavor and good stuff. It’s also, when harvested correctly, a very sustainable source of very nutrient-dense food, which means we should maybe all get acquainted with it in our cooking if not already given the recently published climate change timeline. But, I digress. (Deep breaths. Serenity now, serenity now.)veggie dashi with ginger and turmeric | reading my tea leaves

Kombu is readily available and a pantry staple in my house. So are dried mushrooms of all sorts. Here I use shiitake to get the added glutamate richness (aka umami) that would normally come from bonito (or dried tuna flakes) in a traditional Japanese dashi. But, I went with shiitake to keep it veggie for my girl, Erin, and also because of their good-for-you, immune-boosting properties. I also loaded up on ginger and turmeric for added immunity and nutrient boosters.veggie dashi with ginger and turmeric | reading my tea leaves

Miso is also a staple in my fridge. Like the dried mushrooms and seaweed, it keeps for quite a while. This trio is fantastic to have on hand to make something out of nothing. They have really long shelf-lives and so I never waste them. In fact they are helpful in fighting food waste because they can be thrown together to help use up odd bits of leftover rice or tofu or greens that might otherwise head to compost, like beet, radish, or turnip greens. All big food waste offenders and all delicious when added to this broth.

Veggie dashi with ginger and turmeric

2 (4-6 inch) strips of kombu
2 quarts water
1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
3-4 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2-inches fresh turmeric, peeled and thinly sliced

Wipe down the kombu with a damp cloth.

In a medium pot or large saucepan, combine kombu and water and let soak 6-8 hours (or overnight).

After soaking- add mushrooms to pot and heat over medium until starting to simmer. Once it just starts to simmer, fish out kombu with tongs and discard.

Add ginger and turmeric and gently simmer for another 30 minutes.

Strain liquid over a large bowl or second pot using a fine-mesh sieve.

Discard ginger and turmeric solids, but reserve mushrooms for serving.

Miso broths are best when fresh, so if you don’t want to turn all of your dashi into a miso-enriched broth, at this stage you could set aside as much broth as you’d like to use immediately, and refrigerate or freeze the rest for future use. You could also just drink this warming broth alone without the miso addition. You could serve with the same suggested add-ins as below, or just sip plain.

For miso broth:
1 Tbsp miso paste per cup of dashi
Reserved reconstituted shiitake mushrooms, slicedveggie dashi with ginger and turmeric | reading my tea leaves

Optional add-ins:
Sliced scallions
Cubed tofu
Leftover greens, like turnip, beet, or radish greens, chopped and stirred into warm broth
Leftover brown rice

Place miso paste in a heatproof bowl. Add hot dashi and combine with a fork or small whisk until completely dissolved.

Place sliced mushrooms back in prepared miso broth along with any other add-ins.

veggie dashi with ginger and turmeric | reading my tea leaves

Use any miso paste you like or have on hand (red, white, yellow). I always make sure it’s non-GMO.

If using chopped greens as an add-in for the miso broth, stir it into the dashi before the miso step – so they soften. Then proceed with miso steps.

Miso soup is best when prepared fresh and not boiled as it can lose its nutritional efficacy when subject to high heat. This is why I suggest not turning all 2 quarts of dashi into miso broth unless you will eat it all immediately. Freezing and reheating isn’t ideal for miso.

Kombu and dried shiitake mushrooms are available at many grocery stores (like Whole Foods) and online. They can also be found at any Asian-specialty food markets.veggie dashi with ginger and turmeric | reading my tea leaves

Thanks to Carrie King for writing this post and developing the recipe. When Carrie’s not encouraging me in tiny-apartment cooking adventures, she’s a food writer and editor. Her cookbook work includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner….Life with Missy Robbins and The Chef Next Door with Amanda Freitag. She has contributed to Gather Journal and Life & Thyme and works as recipe editor at Marley Spoon and Dinnerly. Thanks to culinary school and lots of time spent in kitchens, both professional and home, she can cook just about anything, but usually just wants a few couple few slices of pizza.

For the curious:

Our black enameled cast iron dutch oven is from Crane; I got ours from East Fork Pottery.

Our checked napkin is from Fog Linen.

This post includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links. 

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Audrey October 15, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    Thank you so much for this post Erin.
    Been looking for a great Japanese broth recipe that isn’t too intimidating! (and time consuming!)

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 15, 2018 at 2:20 pm

      So glad! I’m so excited to add this into our regular rotation! Froze half but already wanting to slurp it!

  • Reply Kelly Libby October 15, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    This is exactly what i need, Erin and Carrie. I’m very deeply relating to the sadness and needing for a big hug, constantly. I’m wondering if you’d consider writing about mental health, mental illness, depression etc. I had a very difficult summer and just 2 weeks ago my best friend and a long time love died from suicide. We need help. All of us. It feels impossible some days, and other days, i can smile and will cook this lovely soup.

    I would be happy to contribute, talk etc. And, i’m certain that you, Erin, would touch so many of your readers who suffer and struggle in silence.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 15, 2018 at 3:14 pm

      I’m so hopeful this this soup brings some comfort and I’m so sorry for your suffering. I’m not sure I have a huge amount to share on the subject, but I certainly wish for a world where all people have access to mental health professionals, to medication, to friends, and family, and bowls of hot soup if they need it. Sending love.

      • Reply Kelly Libby October 15, 2018 at 3:39 pm

        Thanks, Erin. Your blog brings much needed peace and joy — and i love the weekend links. In fact, I love the NY times stories so much that I subscribed to a Sunday edition.

        • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 15, 2018 at 3:49 pm

          I’m so glad!

  • Reply Doe October 15, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    Yesterday I foraged an enormous hen o’ the woods mushroom and sauteed it with onions, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and s & p. Incorporated it into a corn and fish chowder. Also added a portion into scrambled eggs. Also ate some right out of the pan. Still have five or more pounds to process!! OOOOOH-Mommy!! So delicious! Tomorrow’s plan is to flash-fry a few pounds along with some miso that has been in the fridge for two yea…ummm…. quite a long while… and make another soup! So glad to have your encouragement and company!

  • Reply Sara October 16, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    These recipes look delicious. But even more comforting to me (although I’m not wishing sadness and depression on you) is how you described your feelings in our current state of affairs. This is exactly how I feel and I beat myself up on a regular basis for not doing enough, but I’m just so exhausted. I never experienced real anxiety until election night 2016 and it’s been constant ever since. I do enjoy your blog, both for respite and insirpation – you have posted some good information about ways to help with the many issues we’re facing. So you are making a difference, even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes 🙂

  • Reply BRI October 17, 2018 at 3:22 am

    Totally tasty! Thank you both! As a vegetarian, spiritual practitioner and lover of tasty, nutritious food, ease and thoughtful recipes.
    Also, I like to worship the sacred. It fills my heart and mind and soul. Every part of our being needs regular food of a kind. Many thanks again.

  • Reply Mickey October 17, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    For fall decorations this year, I’m all about foraging and picking.

    I was walking past a man who was propped up on a ladder on the side of his house, and he was busily cutting down ivy – the deep red, gorgeous kind. I swiftly picked a few bits and made a wreath for my wall. It’s simple, free, and changes shade every week.

    I’m also into picking acorns, chestnuts and leaf bouquets, putting them in a wicker bowl, and calling it a day.

    Free, compostable, not a piece of plastic in sight.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 17, 2018 at 12:38 pm

      sounds perfect.

  • Reply Megan October 29, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    This soup looks amazing!

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Comments are moderated.