dried daikon, kombu and shitake

This dish is powerful: a good way to begin the year or the week.  Because it is so powerful, I cook it only a few times a month.  Daikon radish is a long root vegetable that grows deep into the soil.  This energy from the depth of the earth makes it a strengthening food. When dried, its properties become even more intense.  Dried daikon strengthens the kidneys that take a beating when we are stressed; this dish will cleanse the kidneys and other organs and help the body discharge excess fluid, fat and protein.

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serves 6

INgredients

½ cup dried daikon radish

2 dried shitake mushrooms

2-inch-long piece kombu or kelp

1 medium sized yellow onion

1 carrot

1 Tablespoon soy sauce (or to taste)

Process  Soak the dried daikon for 5-10 minutes in filtered or spring water.  If the water looks brown, rinse and soak for longer.  The dried daikon I used was quite dark because I have been storing it in a jar for over a month.  I soaked it for about 35 minutes and rinsed it about 3 times.

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Soak the shitake mushrooms in water to cover them, until they are soft (about 5-10 minutes).

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While the daikon and mushrooms soak, prepare the rest of the vegetables. First, soak the kombu for about 3 minutes, until it softens. Fold and slice it into ¼-inch-wide pieces.

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Place them in the bottom of a small to medium-sized (1.5-2 quart) pot.

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Next slice the onion into thin half-moons by cutting it lengthwise on the diagonal, placing the flat side down on the board, and then cutting into it.

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Set the half-moons aside. Scrape the carrot clean and wash it. Slice it into long quarter-inch-thick ovals.

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Cut the ovals into thin matchsticks.

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Set them aside.  When the shitake mushrooms are softened, squeeze the water out of them, but reserve the soaking water (it will go into the pot). Remove the tough stems and slice the mushroom caps into thin slivers.

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Place them in the pot on top of the kombu.

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Drain the daikon and then place it in your hands and squeeze out all excess water. Place the tight ball of daikon on a cutting board and slice it into three pieces. Place the cut daikon in the pot on top of the shitake mushrooms.

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Cover it with the onions

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and then top with the carrots. Pour the shitake soaking water in and then pour spring or filtered water up to the carrots in the pot.

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Bring to a gentle boil, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Season with the soy sauce (you may want to add a bit more) and then simmer gently for another 10 minutes.  When dish is ready, use a wooden spoon to turn ingredients in the pot, mixing them together. Serve in individual bowls.

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©Nancy Wolfson-Moche 2014