First, let’s make the dashi stock. Remove the head and stomach from the niboshi, dried baby sardines. This will help to remove any bitterness.
Measure out 900ml (3.8 cups) of water in a pot and add the dried baby sardines and the dashi kombu seaweed. Let the baby sardines and kombu seaweed soak in the water for more than 30 minutes.
When they have soaked up the water thoroughly, turn on the burner and gradually bring it to a boil on medium-low heat. When it begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and remove the foam with a mesh strainer.
Simmer the dashi stock for 4 to 5 minutes.
Turn off the burner, remove the kombu seaweed and place it onto a cutting board. Strain the stock into a pot with a mesh strainer, removing the baby sardines.
Finally, cut the kombu seaweed into thin strips. The kombu can be used as one of the ingredients.
And now, let’s cut the ingredients. Quarter the carrot lengthwise and then slice it into quarter moons.
Remove the outer skin of the daikon radish with a peeler. Quarter the daikon and slice it into quarter moons.
With a paper towel, remove the excess oil from the aburaage, thin deep-fried tofu. Cut it in half and slice it into 1cm (0.4") strips.
With your hands, separate the shimeji mushrooms and the maitake mushrooms into bite-size pieces.
Remove the root end of the komatsuna spinach and cut it into 4cm (1.6") pieces. You can substitute any leafy vegetables that have a mild flavor. For example, bok choy, mizuna or boiled spinach.
Slice the long green onion into 7~8mm (0.3") slices using diagonal cuts.
With a spoon, remove the seeds from the kabocha squash.
Remove the stem end and slice it into 1cm (0.4") pieces. The kabocha is hard so be careful not to cut yourself. You can also substitute any type of sweet squash.
Remove the stem end of the hakusai, nappa cabbage and cut it into 3~4cm (1.2"~1.6") pieces. Separate the white firm part and the leafy part.
Now, let’s make Hoto Noodles. To the pot of the dashi stock, add the daikon radish and carrot, the aburaage and the shimeji and maitake mushrooms. Drop in the shredded kombu seaweed and turn on the burner.
Bring it to a boil and then remove the foam.
Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes.
Now, drop in the hoto noodles.
Add the kabocha and the firm white part of the hakusai. Submerge the vegetables into the stock with a ladle. Turn the heat to medium-low, cover and bring it to a boil again.
Occasionally loosen up the noodles with chopsticks to keep them from sticking together. Cover and simmer the hoto noodles for the cooking time stated on the package.
Now, drop in the long green onion, leafy part of the hakusai and komatsuna spinach. Simmer for about 2 more minutes.
Finally, ladle the dashi stock into a bowl and dilute the miso with a balloon whisk.
Then add the miso to the pot.
Distribute the miso evenly with the ladle.
When it begins to boil again, turn off the burner.
Place the pot onto a trivet and now it is ready to serve.
The kabocha squash is a great addition that will help to sweeten the dish and thicken the dashi stock.
Drop in the mushrooms and aburaage when the stock is cold. This will help to make a delicious dashi stock.
Cooking fresh hoto noodles will thicken the dashi stock and help to keep the dish warm.