4 dried shiitake mushrooms 1 cup boiling water 6 cups vegetable stock or 2 cubes vegetable bouillon dissolved in 6 cups water 1 ½ tablespoons grated fresh ginger root 1 ½ cups thinly sliced carrot rounds 1 ½ cups thinly sliced leeks or onions 2 cups chopped Napa cabbage, bok choy or kale 4 cups firmly packed rinsed, chopped fresh spinach or use the Tatsai 1 cake tofu, cut into ½ inch cubes Place the shiitake mushrooms in a heatproof bowl, cover with the boiling water, and set aside for about 10 minutes. Heat the stock or bouillon in a large soup pot, when it comes to a boil, add the ginger, carrots, leeks or onions, and cabbage. Lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Drain the shiitake and add the soaking liquid to the soup. Thinly slice the shiitake caps and stir them into the soup along with the spinach and tofu. Cook for 5 minutes, add salt to taste. Serve garnished with scallions and sesame oil if desired. This soup is best when it’s just cooked. If you are preparing the soup ahead of time don’t add the spinach until just before serving.
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