This is an ideal soup anytime of year, but works so well in the summer because it can also be eaten hot or cold. The best of both bowls! It sits in the fridge and is an ideal, standby meal. The potatoes add some substance and the wasabi, a delicious, mustard-y kick. In Snowdonia, we need a flexible soup this time of year. One day scorching, the next chucking it down and nippy.
But really, British summertime has taken off this year, even in North Wales! We’ve had a summertime!! All that sunshine has come with a few challenges for growers, but the produce we’ve been getting is delicious. It’s not often we get to try British fruit and veg that’s been bathed in a load of sunshine. Is it just me, or are the strawberries the best for a long while this year?
Peas are one of my favourite things about summer, so here’s a simple soup recipe, using local peas given a global twist. I think that’s one of my favourite things about cooking, taking the best local produce to Tokyo or Tehran for a ride.
Which is pretty much what happens in this recipe, some traditional Japanese flavours light up organic veggies from Snowdonia.
Fan of chilled soups?
If you haven’t tried a cold soup in the summer, give it a whirl. The Watermelon Gazpacho recipe I shared earlier in the summer was really popular, I just think this type of soup is the idea summer meal. It’s delicious, light and when served chilled, a cooling lunch on a steamy day. This smooth and satisfying recipe reminds me a little of a Vichyssoise, a traditional French chilled soup, I think its the creamy texture, given by the potatoes.
Wasabi and seaweed may be new ingredients to you, but most supermarkets stock them nowadays. Wasabi is similar to mustard or horseradish, you can use it as you would mustard. I love it mixed into mayonnaise, or in dressings, even thinly spread in a sandwich with pan fried tofu or tempeh, lettuce and other vegetables.
What’s Gomasio?! A tastier, healthier alternative to salt
Gomasio (or Gomashio) is a lot like a Japanese version of the Hazelnut Dukkha that I posted recently. It is a Japanese condiment, basically toasted sesame seeds, with a little salt, ground or blended. It’s something that adds so much flavour to whatever you sprinkle/ stir it on/ into. Have you tried toasted sesame seeds at home? Trust me, they’re intense little things!
Gomasio can add real bite and a lovely toasty flavour to your favourite salads or pan fried greens and also goes well with a host of Japanese dishes (as you’d imagine!) Gomasio is something that can replace salt and with the sesame seeds, adds a lot of nutritional goodness to our meals.
The ratio of salt can vary depending on the diet, macrobiotic diets follow a roughly 18/1 ratio, average gomasio is more like 5/1 (5 parts sesame to 1 part salt). You’ll find your perfect balance I’m sure.
Gomasio keeps well in a sealed container. I pop mine in the fridge, it lasts much longer that way. This goes for all seeds and nuts, once they’re chopped or blended, all those lovely fragrances and oils are released and to take care of them, pop them in the fridge. Gomasio is one of those recipes that is so much more than it’s ingredient list, only two, it’s a keeper! Pop it on the table, use as a replacement for salt or pepper. Makes a very nice change I find.
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I hope you get to try out this recipe. If you like this and would like to hear more from us, we’re working on our new newsletter at the minute, which will be out soon. Sign up here, it takes a few clicks, and we’ll send you all the up to date info from the BHK with recipes, pictures and special offers for upcoming events. I’ve decided to focus on writing a new cookbook, I’ll share something about that, and I’ve some exciting things to share soon regarding new events and festival appearances.
If you’re in the UK, I hope you’re having an awesome summer, diving into lakes, forests, ice creams and BBQ’s, and are also enjoying these long sunny nights properly. If you’re somewhere else in the world, how has your summer been?
You can add tamari/ soya sauce instead of salt, but it can affect the colour. I prefer this soup very green looking.
Just like horseradish or mustard, if you put too much wasabi in your soup, you’ll get that overpowering experience that leads to ‘mustard face’. That’s what we call it anyway. That fiery, burning sensation in your nostrils and roof of the mouth, leading to a look of sheer panic and confusion. Some people like this kind of thing, but to avoid it, just add your wasabi a little at a time. You can even leave it out until the end and add it bowl by bowl depending on how much ‘mustard face’ you enjoy.
You can buy seaweed flakes, or make them your self. Place a nori seaweed sheet (the type used for sushi) into a blender and blitz until a powder forms. This seaweed can then be mixed into your gomasio, to taste.
I use new potatoes, so there was no need to peel them. The skins are so thin. If you’re using other types of potato with thicker skins, I’d peel them first.
Pea and Wasabi Soup with Seaweed Gomasio (gluten-free, vegan)
The Bits – For 4-6 Bowls
425g garden peas or petit pois (fresh or frozen is fine)
200g or x6-7 new potatoes (scrubbed and chopped)
175g or roughly 1/4 white cabbage (sliced)
3 heaped tbs chopped fresh ginger
1 medium onion (peeled and sliced)
1.25 litre hot vegetable stock
1-3 tbs wasabi
1 tbs cooking oil
Black sesame (optional, nice if you aren’t using gomasio)
3 heaped tbs unhulled toasted sesame seeds
1/3-1/2 teas sea salt
Sea weed flakes/ powder
Boil a kettle and make a light vegetable stock. In a large sauce pan on medium high heat, add your cooking oil, once warm, add the onions and ginger. Fry them for 5 minutes, until soft. Add the cabbage and fry for 2-3 minutes, then add the vegetable stock and potatoes. Bring to a gentle boil, put a lid on and cook until the potatoes are ready, around 10-15 minutes is normally fine.
Now add you peas and cook for 2 minutes. Leave the soup to cool slightly, then blend with a stick blender or leave to cool more and blend all in a blender/ food processor.
In a small bowl, add your desired amount of wasabi (remember you can add more later), add a few spoonfuls of soup and mix into a paste. Add this wasabi paste to the soup. Taste, check for seasoning, adding salt/ tamari or more wasabi, depending on how your taste buds feel.
Serve hot or cold, sprinkled with gomasio, seaweed and black sesame seeds.
To chill the soup. Let it cool fully, place in a container and simply pop in the fridge.
For Gomasio – In a frying pan on medium heat, add the sesame seeds and toast them up to 10 minutes. Tossing them or stirring them until they turn a darker shade of brown. If you’re not sure how toasted you like them, take a few in a spoon, blow on them and taste. Just be sure to keep moving them in the pan, they can burn quite easily. Once you’re happy with them, pour into a bowl and leave to cool for a while.
Then add to a pestle and mortar and grind, or use a blender to blitz them up into a rough crumb. Mix in salt and seaweed to taste. Place in a sealable container and pop into the fridge. It will keep well and can be used instead of table salt.
As a condiment that can replace salt, gomasio is full of nutritional benefits. Very high in calcium for a start. A good source of minerals like copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc. I you are eating a vegan/ plant-based diet, sesame seeds are an excellent ingredient to incorporate into you diet. Have you tried tahini drizzled over your breakfast cereal, or on toast?
The word ‘Gomashio’ in Japanese can also mean a person who has some white hairs mixed in with black hairs. What we call the ‘salt and pepper’ look. I’m getting there!
Here are some other dishes we’ve made recently high in sesame seeds:
Aubergine Fava Bean Fatteh with Tahini Yoghurt – Lebanese Party Food!