Here is a recipe for a tasty vegetarian broth made from Kombu (kelp) and shitake mushrooms. Seaweed is one of those things that are full of minerals and really good for you. I would use this in place of vegetable stock, add to chawanmushi (steamed egg curd), or add to the base of miso soup.
When I lived in Northern China, I often saw older ladies and aunties harvesting bundles of green seaweed by the sea. They earned the title “Sea Women” from the locals which I found rather comical. Those trips to the fish market were quite exotic and I remember seeing starfish, the tiniest red lobsters, and weird-looking fish. I think of those days with fondness now. Making these recipes make me recall a lot of the shabu-shabu (Japanese hot pot), light broths and dishes I had growing up in Taipei.
4 dried shitake mushrooms, rinsed
A handful of Kelp (wipe clean with a paper towel gently, do not rinse)
Add ingredients with 2-3 cups of water in jar or container. Leave to soak for a few hours. I keep mine in the fridge overnight. Discard the kombu but you can slice the shitake’s into the soup.
*Add bonito flakes for a richer, non-vegetarian broth. I made the mistake of washing my kombu for the first time and realized the white residue on top is what brings the umami flavour to the soup. You can wipe the kombu gently with a paper towel instead of rinsing it.