Shoyu-jiru (Soup with Shoyu base)
Shoyu-jiru is a northern thing. I've been comparing different versions, and decided that I prefer a straight shoyu broth, with no sake or mirin. Since this is a clear soup, it's surprisingly colorful and cheery. No tricks, just simmer away!
4 c (800 ml) konbu or niboshi dashi or water (water is fine if you are going to use chicken or satsuma-age/chikuwa etc.)
2 T shoyu (taste before serving, you may prefer a little more)
Stuff to go in the soup...you should have a hearty bowl of bits and pieces, just covered with broth:
Konnyaku - I like it cubed for this dish
Fu (gluten): use slices of fried fresh fu (abura-fu) if you can get it, or sheets of pressed fu or other dried fu, soaked in warm water about 10 mins, then squeezed dry and sliced.
Seasonal and optional items:
Chicken pieces (or less traditional but useful, chikuwa)
Sweet potato (soak slices or cubes in water and rub in the water to loosen surface starch - color will be much brighter when cooked)
Burdock root (gobo)
wakegi or Dividing onions such as naga-negi
Greens: komatsuna or chingen-sai - best added at the end, to retain bright color.
Sato-imo - peel thickly and parboil in one or two changes of water before adding to soup.
Eggplant - tends to look awful in miso-soup, but is fine in shoyu broth!
Grilled mochi turns this soup into a regional o-zouni for New Year.
Toppings - finely chopped negi in winter, myouga in summer.