Japanese mushroom soup is a delicious and appetizing dish that can be easily and quickly put together to serve as a light starter for a meal. This soup is light and bright but filled with enormous flavor package. The broth is clear and packs a powerful flavor punch from the onions, Japanese mushrooms and staple ingredients like Tamari sauce and miso paste. It is simplicity at its best.
Like I said most of the depth of flavor and richness of the broth comes from the mushrooms so it is important to use stronger tasting Japanese variety like Shiitake, enoki, shimeji or Maitake. Enoki mushrooms have a slight crunch to them that balances the relatively mild, fruity flavor. They make an excellent, healthy addition to both soups and salads. Meatiness and distinctive smoky flavor are the main characteristics of shiitake mushrooms, making them perfect for soups. Maitake have a strong flavor for a mushroom, they are rich in an earthy, spicy flavor. Shineji have a delightfully crunchy texture and mild, nutty flavor. So any of those wonderful full-body flavored mushrooms will work in this soup.
Sautéed onions, help to round out the umami characteristics of this delicious Japanese delight.
As for the stock in this recipe, there is quite a bit of flexibility with regards to the type of stock which best suits your palate and lifestyle. Chicken broth, vegetable broth, or even a Japanese dashi broth all work great as the base for the soup. So you can make it vegan and vegetarian at your preference. You can also add Japanese noodles to the soup to guarantee comfort and make it a complete and very tasty meal of its own. Keep experimenting with the simple ingredients to find what you like the best.