Saturday, November 15, 2008

Prawn-Flavoured Miso and Seaweed Soup

Ever done any cooking with prawns (shrimp)? Ever had to shell them? Did you ever wonder what you could do with the "heads" and the rest of the shells besides chucking them in the bin? Well, you are about to find out what you can do with them.

This easy and tasty soup makes a great side dish to whatever you are doing with the shrimp (prawn) meat for the main course.

Here's what you need:

Prawn (shrimp) shells and heads from about 1 pound of shrimp (prawn)
1 or 2 tbsp light miso paste
1 or 2 sheets of yaki-nori seaweed (the kind you make sushi rolls with)
8 to 10 cups of water
a large saucepan
a heat source

There's some optional stuff, like shitake shrooms, chillis, or some of the prawn meat, but the above will give you a very nice, refreshing soup. Oh, the light miso paste refers to the color and has nothing to do with reducing calories.

What you do:

Dump the prawn shells and heads into your saucepan along with the water. Crank up the heat source, cover and simmer till the liquid is reduced by around half. This'll take anywhere between 30 mins (minutes) and an hour (3,600 seconds).

Remove from heat. Take a potato masher and mash the shells (while still in the broth) to extract every last bit of prawny goodness from them. Strain to get rid of the shells. Put the strained broth back in the saucepan and add the miso paste. Put it back on the heat to bring it up to a simmer.

A couple of minutes (a few hundred seconds) before serving, shred the seaweed sheets into the soup. Let it stand for a minute.

Serve it up!

Tasty, simple, healthy!

Makes about a litre. If you want more soup, then use more water initially.

If you are using dried shitakes, try reconstituting them in half water and half dry sherry --it'll take an hour or so depending on how dry they are (if they've been in your pantry for a few years it'll take a long soak). And add the reconstipated shitakes to the soup the same time as the miso.

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