Many of the ingredients can be found at Asian specialty stores. If you find fresh taro, please buy it. While it takes a couple of steps to prepare, its flavor and texture is special and worth the effort. You don’t have to add noodles to the soup, but it makes for a heartier main dish if you do. Just be sure to undercook the noodles slightly as they’ll cook more when the hot broth is ladled over them. If you can’t find yam cake or burdock root you can omit them without detriment to the flavor of the soup. Instead of puffed tofu, slice firm tofu into 2-inch by ¼-inch strips and fry in vegetable oil until golden. Serves 4 to 6
1. In a small bowl toss the taro with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Turn it out into a strainer and let it drain over the bowl for 20 minutes.
2. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Rinse off the taro and add to the boiling water. Cook for 7 minutes at a simmer and drain. Reserve at room temperature if you are making the soup immediately. Otherwise wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
3. Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat. When the pot is hot add the oils and then the pork belly. Cook until the pork belly is golden on the edges. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms are wilted and tender.
4. Add the yam cake, tofu, burdock, carrot, daikon and cabbage and stir until cabbage is wilted.
5. Add the dashi and stir. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
6. Place the two miso pastes in a medium bowl. Take a large ladle of soup broth and slowly pour into the miso while whisking constantly to evenly and smoothly combine the miso and broth. Continue whisking in broth until the mixture is easily pourable back into the pot. Pour back into the pot and stir until uniform. Stir in the ginger and lightly season to taste with salt.
7. Ladle into deep serving bowls over noodles if using and sprinkle with green onions. Serve soy sauce on the side if guests would like to adjust the seasoning to their liking.