Nourishing Asian Broth


Photo by Lottie Hedley

Broths are such healing food. They’re light and easy to digest; you can make them with all sorts of vegetables but my favourite ones use a base of mushrooms and sea vegetables. Both of these ingredients have wonderful healing properties that boost the immune system and offer a deep savoury/umami flavour.

This is a particularly lovely broth with fragrant additions from star anise and ginger, which provide additional immune bosting properties. The vegetables are lightly poached in broth before serving − be careful not to overcook them as you want to retain as much of the nutrients and flavour as you can.

Kombu, which is the seaweed we use for the base of our broth, is easy to get hold of from health food stores and Asian specialty stores. It’s a core ingredient in many Japanese broths and soups like miso.

Kombu is a natural source of glutamic acid which adds a wonderful savoury flavour as well as improving brain and muscle function. It also contains the well-researched compound fucoidan which helps protect us from radiation and, as with most sea vegetables, it contains a natural source of iodine.

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Make time: 40 mins

Soak time: 2−3 hours

Serves: 4  



 Kelp noodles

1 package (375g) kelp noodles

¼ cup tamari

⅓ cup filtered water



3½ cups filtered water

5 dried shiitake mushrooms (soaked for 2−3 hours)

2 sticks kombu

2 shallots, peeled and halved

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

2 cm piece ginger, roughly chopped

2 star anise

2 tbsp mirin (i)

4 tbsp tamari

½ tsp toasted sesame oil



10 baby turnips, halved

1 bunch sprouting broccoli or brocolini

6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, finely sliced

4 large or 8 small oyster mushrooms, thick stems removed


To serve

1 large carrot, finely julienned on a mandolin

handful sugar snap peas, halved lengthways



Kelp noodles

Place kelp noodles, tamari and filtered water in a small bowl and mix together. Leave to soak for around 15 minutes or until they become soft. It's important that the kelp noodles are coated or submerged in the marinade to enable them to soften.

Place softened noodles in a sieve and give them a light rinse under running water to remove any excess tamari and set aside. 


Place the water, soaked shiitake and their soak water along with the other broth ingredients (except the tamari and sesame oil) in a pot, bring to a boil and then simmer for 40 minutes.

Remove from the heat and strain the liquid off using a fine mesh sieve. Add the tamari and sesame oil and return to the stove to simmer.

Add baby turnips to the broth and cook with the lid on for 5 minutes or until they start to soften – the aim here is to lightly steam the vegetables.

Add sprouting broccoli and shiitake mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes. Finally, add the oyster mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes until softened.

Take 4 bowls and divide out the kelp noodles, carrots and snow peas, followed by the lightly steamed vegetables.

Finally pour over the remaining broth and enjoy this nourishing Asian bowl.