This soup is a variation on a classic Japanese carp soup called Koi Ko Ku, which is traditionally recommended as a tonic and blood strengthener for women who have given birth. Because of the long cooking, the fish bones are completely softened and become edible and quite delicious. It is a superior source of natural calcium and other essential bone minerals: in fact, one cup provides over 800 mg of calcium.
- 1 whole fish (e.g., ), about 1 ½ to 2 lb
- 4 slices ginger
- 3 small carrots (about ½ lb), scrubbed and roll-cut
- 1 medium onion, medium dice
- 1 cup white wine or 1/4 cup brown rice vinegar
- 6 cups water
- 1/4 cup mellow barley miso
To prep ginger: cut 4 thin slices off a knob, lay them on top of each other, then slice them lengthwise into thin slivers.
In a 6-quart pressure cooker, place the fish, onion, carrot, ginger, wine, water, and miso. Bring up to pressure, reduce heat to low, and simmer very gently for 5 hours. Allow to sit until pressure is down, open pot, and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon to harmonize all the flavors. Check the proportion of liquid: it should be soupy, not too dry; add some water if needed. Find a bone and taste test; it should be easily chewed. If a little too hard, pressure cook for another hour. Makes 6-8 servings. This soup/stew can be kept in the refrigerator for 4 days. I do not recommend freezing because it kills the taste and makes it flat. Reboil each time before serving, adding a little stock or water if necessary.