Beef + Finely Shredded Vegetables Soup

Got the essential ingredients of Japanese cooking? So you are ready to try this beef and vegetables soup. Very easy and soooo tasty.

Beef + Finely Shredded Vegetables Soup
Everyday Harumi (p.36-) - serves 4

For the beef
7 oz thinly sliced beef
1/4 - 1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tbs sake
1-2 tbs mirin
1-2 ts superfine sugar
pepper - to season

For the soup
small carrot
large stalk celery
2/3 cup watercress
3/4 oz fresh ginger
5 cup dashi stock*
salt - to season
shichimi togarashi or chili pepper - to taste

* For the dashi stock
2x4 inch pieces kombu seaweed (dried kelp)
2 oz katsuobushi (dried fish flakes)
1. Put 4 cups water in a large saucepan. To remove any escess saltiness from the kombu, either quickly wash it under cold running water and then pat dry or wipe with a damp cloth. Add the cooking water, leaving it soak for 30 minutes.
2. Putt the saucepan over high heat and remove the kombu just before the water comes to a boil. Add the dried fish flakes, bring back to a boil, and then immediately turn off the heat.
3. Let it stand until all the flakes have sunk to the bottom of the saucepan.
4. Pour the mixture through a strainer lined with paper towel, leave to cool, and keep the dashi stock in the refrigerator until ready to use. 

1. To marinate the beef: cut the thinly sliced beef into 1 1/2-2 inch long strips, place in a bowl, and add the soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar. Mix together and season with pepper. Set aside to marinate for 10 minutes.
2. To make the soup: chop the carrot into julienne strips 2 1/2 inches long.
3. Remove any stringy parts from the celery stalk and chop into similar-sized julienne.
4. Trim the stems from the watercress and divide into four.
5. Peel and slice the fresh ginger into fine julienne.
6. Put the dashi stock into a large saucepan over medium heat. Once it has come to a boil, add the beef and the marinade. Skim off any scum that forms on the surface.
7. Add the carrot, celery, ginger, and watercress in this order, then add salt to season. Gently boil for a few minutes, being careful not to let the vegetables overcook - they should be quite crunchy when you serve them.
8. Serve the soup with some shichimi togarashi or chili powder sprinkled on top.

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