Kombu is one of the two basic ingredients used for DASHI (soup stock). It's a long dark brown to grayish-black SEAWEED, which, after harvesting, is sun-dried and folded into sheets.
Place kombu in water for 10 minutes to reconstitute it. Remove kombu, chop and set aside, reserving water.
Saute onions, carrots, cabbage, potatoes and mushrooms in oil in a large stockpot until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic powder, basil, kombu, reserved water, kasha, lima beans and sauerkraut and bring to a simmer.
Remove 1/4 cup broth to a small bowl, dissolve miso in it and return mixture to stockpot.
Simmer until beans and kasha are cooked, about 8 minutes. Serve hot.
HINT: for more intense flavor, increase miso to 2-1/4 teaspoons.