I have been plagued by this question- would Sailor Moon be a vegan? I feel like she would. So far I’ve only seen her eat mochi and toast, and that is in fact vegan. Actually, that’s not true. She is always eating generic bento boxes, which probably has some meats or fish packed in there. But I blame Usagi’s Mom, she is the one making the meals. I just picture Usagi sitting in her room eating lots of mochi and Earth Balance Mac and Cheese.
Realistically Sailor Mars would be the vegan since she is a shrine maiden. Shintoism has deep respect for animals, so Rei probably does as well (and her favorite food is vegetarian pizza, whatever that means). Or maybe Sailor Jupitar would be vegan? She is such a good cook that she looks for a challenge by cooking vegan food. She would save so much money! Although Sailor Neptune could be vegan since she is so smart.
Vegan or not I picture all the sailor scouts sitting in a circle eating this hot pot. I mean maybe I should call it Sailor Mushroom Hot Pot? Okay it is stretch to think any of them would be vegan. Japanese cuisine is heavily fish and meat based. Instead of calling for butter, cheese, or cream in every recipe (like western ones), Japan uses small amounts of fish or meat by products.
Although this makes things tricky when eating out, it makes adaptations easy. There are many ingredients that have that umami flavor that meats have. Mushrooms, mirin, soy sauce, miso, seaweed, and countless other ingredients give that warm “je ne sais quoi” of meats. In the end you get a meal that have more body than one with dairy replacing the meat.
This soup is perfect for transitioning season. You can plan this for a weeknight dinner and if the weather gets hot, you need very little cook time. If it is chilly, you get a nice hot pot of broth and noodles. It is super fast to make once you get everything ready, and you need very little chopping, making it a perfect meal for a busy day. The only thing you need to do is “make” the broth before leaving the house in the morning (which is literally the easiest broth you can make).
Traditionally you would use a hot pot to cook the soup. The benefit of using a clay pot is that you can bring it out when done cooking and soup will stay warmer for longer. Bring out the big pot and a big spoon and everyone can serve themselves. Of coarse not everyone likes to share. Sometimes I like to divide the recipe up and cook separate bowls for my husband and me, which is fun too.
And can I mention how yummy it tastes with fine sake? Having hot soup and cold sake is a treat, especially after a long day at work. Haven’t tried sake? Check out some of these vegan brands on Barnivore.
- 4 cups water
- 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1/3 cup mirin
- 1/3 soy sauce*
- 1/2 lb napa cabbage, cut in bite size pieces
- 1/2 lb tofu, cubed
- 3 1/2 oz shimeji mushrooms, separated **
- 7 oz enoki mushrooms, separated **
- 2 oz noodles ***
- 1/2 lb adult spinach, washed
1In a measuring cup or pitcher place 4 cups of filtered water and dried mushrooms. Let sit at room temperature for at least 5 hours. I suggest prepping in the morning before work. 2Remove the mushrooms from the water, cut into quarters and set aside for the hot pot. Add mirin and soy sauce to the mushroom broth. 3Place tofu and napa cabbage in the bottom of a pot and pour the mixed broth over. Turn on heat and bring to boil. Once boiling cook for 5 minutes. 4Add the cut shiitake mushrooms, shimeji mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, and noodles to the pot. Cook for another 5 minutes. 5Add the spinach and cook for a minute, or until the spinach wilts and turn dark green. Serve and enjoy! *Pick a very light soy sauce, particularly one that is made for soup. In Korea they use gukganjang which is a by product of making doejang. These are easy because there are usually bowls of soup on the bottles. If you want Japanese soy sauce look for koikuchi or usukuchi. **These mushrooms are usually sold in packages in these ounces, so weighing will not be needed. You will need to pull the mushrooms apart from each other though. ***I used a thin chinese noodle that cooks fast. I suggest picking cook times that are under 5 minutes when picking noodles. Even ramen noodles will do the trick.