Miso soup derives from Japan. It can be served at any time of day. Miso is fermented soybean paste. The colors of miso are classified as “white”, “red”, or “black”. The differences in color are caused by the length of time the miso was fermented. Miso soup is traditionally cooked with a dashi broth. Dashi is a made from water, and kombu (edible kelp). Miso soup will taste bitter if it is overcooked or kept at a rapid boil. Cook miso soup at a gentle simmer.
As a child I was put off by the idea of sushi. Thus when my family went to sushi restaurants I would mainly eat miso soup. I was fascinated by soup that was almost clear and had very simple ingredients. It was different from all the other soups I ever had as a child. I would stir the broth and hidden pieces of tofu and mushroom would emerge to say “hello”. Now that I am an adult I do eat sushi, but I am always excited when miso soup comes at the beginning of the meal. I gently stir my soup, and childhood comes back to me.
Miso Soup Recipe
Yields 4 servings
Miso soup can be vegetarian or vegan depending on what kind of dashi granules or broth you purchase. Some dashi are made from just kombu (kelp), but many are made from fish. Read the labels carefully before purchasing.
2 teaspoons dashi granules
4 cups water
7 ounces firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
6 shiitake or bella mushrooms, finely sliced
4 tablespoons miso paste
2 scallions, chopped
Put the dashi and water into a pot and bring to a boil.
Add the tofu and mushrooms to the pot. Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 4 minutes.
Stir in the miso paste and continue to simmer. Gently stir occasionally, until the miso has dissolved. This will take about 5 minutes.
Add the scallions and serve immediately. Serve warm.
If you do not serve the miso soup immediately, the miso will settle. Give the broth a thorough stir before serving.
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