Miso Soup is a staple of Japanese cuisine; something that the typical household will eat several times a week, sometimes even on a daily basis. With many different variations, ways to enhance or change the flavor, ingredients you can add to make it a bit different, and much much more, Miso Soup is a dish that can be enjoyed as part of any meal, at any time of day. It’s a mainstay dish that is healthy, easy to make, cheap, and most importantly, delicious.
I’ve been making miso soup for years now, and every time I make it, I try to experiment a bit, to make it different from the time before. This recipe will contain the base steps I use in making miso soup, as well as some suggestions on how to enhance the soup to your liking. I’ll be going over three separate items: Dashi, Broth, and Filler, each in turn. Let’s get cooking!
Dashi is the base stock used in most Japanese soup dishes. It’s simple to make as long as you have the right ingredients, and having a good Dashi can greatly enhance the flavor and depth of a dish. Keep in mind that each cup of Dashi equals about one cup of soup, so figure out how much you want beforehand.
- 4 cups of water
- 1 Large piece of dried Kombu Seaweed
- 1 tsp Fish powder OR 1 cube (or tsp) vegetable bouillon
- *optional* 2 shiitake mushrooms, cut into quarters.
Bring the water to heat on the stove, but don’t let it boil. Set the heat to simmer, and add seaweed, fish powder or bouillon, and if you want, sliced shiitake mushrooms. Stir gently for 5-10 minutes, until the liquid goes lightly golden in color.
At this point, you have two options. One is to remove the seaweed and mushrooms and continue making your soup, the other is to move your dashi (seaweed and all included) from the pot to a sealed container, to use later and continue soaking. The first option is for making a fast soup, the second will yield a more flavorful dashi for the best possible soup. Both options will surely be delicious.
Miso broth is the main body of any good miso soup, and a good broth is a must-have. The soup can be made using either white or red miso. White miso has a mild, creamy flavor, which makes it perfect for a breakfast, or when you’re feeling sick. Red miso has a more vibrant, rich flavor to it, making it better suited for a heart dinner meal. I use both types, depending what mood i’m feeling when I cook.
- 4 cups of Dashi
- 1/4 cup Miso (white or red)
- 3 chopped green onions or scallions
- 1/2 block soft or silken tofu, cut into small chunks.
Start by heating up your Dashi, adding the Miso and stirring until it is thoroughly dissolved into the liquid. Add in your chopped green onions, and bring to a boil. After bringing it to a boil, set the temperature to medium, add your tofu, and let simmer for 2-3 minutes, allowing the flavor to soak into the tofu, and the green onions to become soft and flavorsome. As you take it off the stove, add a generous amount of pepper, and salt to taste.
With just tofu and green onion, you already have a complete and ready-to-eat Miso Soup, but why should you stop there? There are plenty of things you can add to the soup to give is more flavor, color, or health benefits, and it’s such an easy dish to make, there’s nothing stopping you from experimenting a little. Some things you can add might be:
- Chopped or grated carrots (wash them thoroughly first in cold water, and add them last, or your soup will turn orange)
- Mushrooms (sliced shiitake mushrooms, straw mushrooms, or enoki all taste great!)
- Potatoes (boil in the miso broth for several minutes before adding tofu, red miso is preferable)
- Bean sprouts
- Shredded cabbage
- Beef, chicken, or Pork, sliced thinly
- Add some noodles and turn it into Miso Ramen, or Miso Oden!
Experiment a bit, try your hand at making something fresh and new, and you’ll be surprised at all the things you can create from just a simple miso soup. The possibilities are endless, and the soup is very cheap as well. You should be able to make 4 servings for easily under $5 total, as the ingredients are very inexpensive. The soup itself only takes 10-15 minutes to prepare as well (including Dashi prep time), so it’s a great option for when you don’t have a lot of time and need something quick and tasty.
Do you guys have your own Miso Soup recipes? Let me know how you usually enjoy your miso soup