It's our last month in Lisbon and we've had a flurry of visitors. We've wined and dined all over town, walked on wild winter beaches and cooked up decadent things at home. The January cleanse has been a little late coming. As we waved the last guests off yesterday, I decided to make something clean and soothing. Normally I'd turn to agodashi for a simple broth, but this time I wanted to make a cleaner, vegan version. Kombu and shittake create the depth here, while turmeric and ginger provide warmth and earthiness. A splash of apple cider vinegar and a good amount of fresh black pepper rounds things off. The result is a restorative broth that can kick start a gentle detox and calm the nervous system. I plan on eating a different broth bowl all week - with noodles and garlicky courgette maybe, or sweet potato and fire-roasted red peppers, or quinoa and wilted greens.. who needs a juice cleanse when you've got broth like this.


KOMBU is a type of kelp seaweed, very high in iodine, calcium and vitamins A and C. Eating sea vegetables is a great way to increase intake of iodine: an essential nutrient for healthy thyroid function. The thyroid balances hormones in the body, and without essential support from minerals such as iodine, complications can occur such as mood changes, exhaustion, or weight gain/loss. Kombu is also an anti-inflammatory food, which can aid digestion by breaking down heavy starches and sugars in grains and legumes. 

SHITTAKE  MUSHROOM are a great source of vitamins B and D, which can help with brain function and mental health, and have been studied for their role in reducing BMI and cholesterol.

TURMERIC... is everywhere these days and the secret is most definitely out as to the power of this little bright yellow root. GINGER is a fantastic anti-inflammatory, antibacterial ingredient that bolsters the immune system and heals the gut. I try to have a bit of both most days, either in tea or in cooking.

Note: Some Japanese recipes recommend not boiling the kombu, for fear it might turn bitter. I've never found this to be a problem, but one way around this is to soak the kombu overnight in the 1.5l water, then bring the whole pan of soaking water and kombu to a boil the next day and remove the kombu once the pot is boiling. Also note: dried shittakes will give a stronger flavour - unfortunately they're hard to find in Portugal, but use them if you can. I used fresh, and doubled the quantity.


For the broth:

  • 1 cup wild rice (or more, if serving more people)
  • 1 strip of dried kombu
  • 1/2 cup fresh shittake mushrooms (chopped roughly), or 1/4 cup dried
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thinly
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, sliced (I leave the peel on, since it's a broth, but peel if you like)
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1.5 litres water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • fresh black pepper

For the carrots:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 4-5 organic carrots (or more, if serving more people), washed and chopped into rough pieces 
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp butter (optional)
  • pinch salt
  • fresh black pepper
  • 1 tsp agave or honey or similar

To serve:

  • Sunflower sprouts, chopped chives, coriander, sesame seeds...

Start with the rice, by rinsing it then bringing to a boil in a medium pan with 2 cups water. Leave to simmer for around 50 minutes while you prepare the broth. Once the rice is done, drain any remaining liquid and set aside. 

For the broth, place a separate large pan over a medium heat and bring 1.5l water to a boil. Add all the broth ingredients except the salt and pepper and turn down to a simmer. Leave simmering for 90minutes, removing the kombu after around 20 minutes if you want a very clear broth. Leave it in if you want it strong. After 90 minutes, (you can cook the carrots while it's simmering) remove from the heat, remove and discard the kombu if you haven't already and add the salt and pepper. 

For the carrots, place a large cast iron pan or wok over a high heat and add the oil and carrots. When sizzling, add the water, salt and thyme. Flip every few minutes to cook the carrots through, but not too often so they have a chance to brown on each side. Towards the end, stir in the butter if using and the garlic and pepper. Stir and cook for another 2 minutes, then stir in the agave and remove from the heat. 

To serve, scoop the rice into bowls and spoon carrots on top. Ladle on some broth, add the sprouts and chives and serve. 

Prep time: 15 mins. Cook time: 90 mins.