Miso soup is a Japanese staple and comfort food. I am having some right now to comfort me on doing so poorly on this month’s project. More wallowing later, now on to how to make delicious miso soup.
3-4 Tablespoons Miso paste (depending on taste)
4 cups water
1 cup daikon*, julienned
2 teaspoons dashi powder*
1 package silken tofu (soft), diced
1 cup wakame seaweed*, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
There are so many different variations to miso soup, but this recipe is how I was taught from our Japanese friends near Tokyo.
STEP 1.) Gather and prepare the ingredients. Chop the green onions, julienne the daikon and cube the tofu. This is like a sewing sampler for knife skills. Soak the wakame (if using) in water for about 5 mins and then drain and chop into bite size pieces.
STEP 2.) Prepare the dashi. The easiest way to make dashi is to use instant dashi. It is readily available at most grocery stores and probably all Asian supermarkets. Dashi is a type of stock made from bonito (fish) flakes and kombu seaweed. Following your powdered dashi instructions make 4 cups of dashi. For me that was 4 cups water + 2 teaspoons dashi powder. Combine in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. For more info about dashi scroll to the bottom of the recipe.
STEP 3.) Cooking. Once your dashi is boiling add the daikon. Let it cook for a couple minutes, then add the tofu and the wakame seaweed. Turn the heat to very low and prepare your miso.
STEP 4.) Don’t kill the miso! Miso is fermented, which means there are awesome organisms living in it that your body will adore. You never want to boil your miso or else you will kill them and the health benefits that go along with them. Also it will be less tasty 🙂 So put your miso into a small bowl and ladle some of the warm, but no longer boiling dashi over it. Stir the dashi around with a fork or chopsticks until it is all dissolved. Pour back into the pot with everything else. Taste it to see if you want to add more miso. Add more miso in the same fashion if you do. The other way I have done it is to put the miso into a larger tea strainer… like one of these:
… and swirled it around until it all dissolved in the soup. To each their own!
STEP 5.) Finishing touches. If the soup has cooled down too much for your tastes, increase the heat to warm it up without it reaching a boil. When ready ladle out your soup and sprinkle with the green onions. Serve the soup and impress everyone with your worldly-ness!
* Don’t let the names psych you out, Dashi, daikon and wakame are more widely available that you may think. If you can’t find them near you at all do not fear, wakame and/or daikon don’t have to be included just add another veggie instead or some chopped mushrooms. If you can’t find dashi you can try chicken broth, fish broth or just water. It will taste different, but different isn’t always bad…EXPERIMENT! Some types of miso even have dashi already mixed in, making it perfect for miso soup:
On the other end of the spectrum if you want to make your own dashi, check out one of these websites… it seems simple enough:
A few notes about miso…
Miso paste is readily available in most super markets. Here are a few fun facts about it:
* There are different types of miso, which of course have different tastes. White miso is made from soy beans and rice, which are then fermented and create a lighter taste. Red miso is made from soy beans, barley and other grains, which go through a longer fermenting process leading to a richer, saltier flavour. Awase miso is a mix of the two types making it easier to use for all types of cooking.
* It is a good source of iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, some B vitamins, and protein.
* It contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.
* It’s origins can be traced to China as far back as the 4th century BC. Miso was introduced to Japan around the 7th century by Buddhist monks.
PSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSST… daikon looks like this: