This is a traditional Zen Buddhist shojin Ryori cuisine which originates from the Kencho-ji Temple in Kamakura . Jiru means soup and Kenchin is derived from the temple name.
This soup is full of umami flavour using kombu,shiitake mushroom,toasted sesame oil and tamari ( or soy sauce )
The soup consists of root vegetables in a shiitake kombu stock ( you can also add miso if you wish .) This soup also has tofu it is said that you tear the tofu into the soup instead of cutting the tofu as it is supposed to be divided equally between the residents of the temple regardless of status. This dish contains no onion,devout Buddhists believe that onion is not good for your peace of mind so not good for meditation.
First make you stock
I normally leave a piece of konbu to soak over night in water the konbu comes with a white powder on its surface do not wash this off as this adds to the flavour just simply wipe with a cloth. ( for this recipe I used 3 cups of konbu stock and 1 cup of shiitake stock .
After you have soaked your konbu place the water and konbu in a pan and turn on the heat remove the konbu just before the water starts to boil. Make shiitake stock by soaking a few dried shiitake in one cup of water for around 20 mins ( place a small bowl over to submerge the shittake to stop them from floating. After 20 mins take out the shiitake and slice them and add the stock to the konbu soaked water .
Now you need to prepare your vegetables
You can use a variety for vegetables Burdock root,daikon radish,carrot,lotus root,taro komatsuna or any leafy green vegetable,you can also add konnyaku (konjac) but I just used tofu in this recipe . I didn’t use burdock root as I couldn’t find any and I didn’t use taro .
chop your vegetables and add about a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil to a deep pan sauté your root vegetables for a few minutes then add your stock but do not add your leafy greens until the soup is nearly ready to serve. Simmer until the vegetables are tender then add 1 tablespoon of tamari or soy sauce and one tablespoon of mirin .
take a block of drained tofu and crumble it into the soup in large pieces and finally add your chopped leafy greens .
Now your soup is ready