I always make more of this Japanese soup stock (dashi) than I need at a time â€“ the extra will hold in the refrigerator for up to a week or you can freeze it for several months. If youâ€™ve got the dashi, youâ€™ve got an instant base for future soups and stews. Youâ€™ll also need a wok and a bamboo steamer for this recipe.
First make the Japanese soup stock, or dashi: Combine 3 quarts of water, the kelp, and bonito flakes in a 4-quart saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Allow the water to come slowly to a simmer. This should take about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat just as the stock reaches a boil. Let the stock sit for a minute or two and then strain out the solids. Pour 1 quart of the dashi into a wok; reserve the remaining 2 quarts for another use. Put the wok over medium heat. Whisk in the miso until smooth. Toss in the mushrooms and bring the stock to a simmer.
Lightly coat the bottom of a 12-inch bamboo steamer with non-stick cooking spray. Season both sides of the fish fillets with salt and pepper and lay them side by side in the steamer, skin-side up. Cut the ginger lengthwise in strips and arrange it on top of the fish so the flavor can permeate the flesh. Sprinkle the cilantro over everything. Nestle the bok choy halves in the steamer, side by side. Cover with the bamboo lid, set the steamer inside the wok over the simmering stock, and steam for 15 to 20 minutes until the fish is cooked. Carefully lift out the bamboo steamer and throw the udon noodles and green onions into the simmering stock. Cook for about a minute, until the noodles are tender.
To serve, ladle the miso soup into 2 wide shallow bowls, scoop the noodles into the soup and lay the bok choy and fish on top of that. Garnish with more cilantro and sprinkle lightly with the chili-sesame salt and serve.
Edited: October 15th, 2009