Makes 1 2/3 cups
Unlike most sauces or gravies, this simple recipe contains no oil or flour, yet it has a full, delicate flavor and pleasing texture. Serve it over grains, vegetables, or noodles.
2 cups kombu-shiitake stock (link)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 bay leaf
2 shiitake used to make the stock or 2 fresh shiitake, remove and discard stems and thinly slice caps
1-2 scallions, thinly sliced, or 1-2 shallots, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons brown rice or barley miso dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons mirin
3 level tablespoons crushed kuzu
Combine stock and salt in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add bay leaf, shiitake, and scallions or shallots, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the miso and mirin, and remove from heat. Dissolve the kuzu in 3 tablespoons cold water and slowly add it to the sauce while stirring briskly. Return the pan to medium-low heat and bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring constantly. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. If too thin, add a small amount of kuzu, dissolved in water; if too thick, add a little water or stock.
Variation: Sauté the shiitake and onions in a little sesame oil or water for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the stock, salt and bay leaf and simmer for 10 minutes, then add the mirin and miso and thicken as described above.