Increasingly, the Japanese are celebrating Halloween. Mainly, it is seen as an excuse to wear a costume, as little information actually is known about the history to the holiday. I suppose the same could be said of the United States, as few know the celebration’s Pagan and Irish origins. Come October, pumpkin-flavored items make their ways onto the grocery aisles and menus. Similarly, on the school lunch tray you’ll find pumpkin puddings and orange-colored entrees such as curries, pilafs and other pumpkin savories. This miso soup is by no means relegated to the month of October, but can be enjoyed all year-round. It just feels more festive if you make it in the autumn, somehow. (Serves 2-3)
¼ kabocha squash, seeded (acorn squash or other winter squash will work, but for harder pumpkins, remove the skin before simmering)
2 cups water
½ 3.5 oz. package shimeji or enoki mushrooms
3 to 4 dried mushrooms (shiitake), reconstituted
1 ½ teaspoon dashi granules
1 heaping tablespoon miso
Small saucepan, small bowl
1. Wrap the kabocha in plastic wrap, and microwave for 1 to 2 minutes or until softened slightly. Carefully remove the pumpkin from the plastic wrap, and allow it to cool before cutting into bite-size slices.
2. Bring water to a boil in the saucepan. Add the mushrooms and pumpkin, and boil until cooked through. Add the dashi granules, and lightly simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Turn off the heat. In a bowl, mix the miso with a small amount of water so it turns into a pourable liquid. Add this to the soup.
4. Gently stir, and serve.