Miso Soup – The Basic Form…

Miso Soup 1

You would be hard-pressed to find a Japanese restaurant that does not have a miso soup somewhere on the menu, and any aficionado of Japanese cuisine will have tried it at one time or another. Strictly speaking, a miso soup could be any soup given an umami boost with the addition of the Japanese fermented soy-bean paste known as ‘miso’ but generally, the soup base is the rich sea-stock called Dashi. There are countless other additions that can be made, of course, but a traditional favorite version simply includes a little tofu, along with scallions and Wakame seaweed. This is the type I will be making for you today…

The Ingredients

  • 2 generous cups of Dashi (recipe here);
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Miso (white, or light-colored preferred);
  • ¼ – ½ cup reconstituted Wakame seaweed;
  • 12 small cubes of tofu;
  • 1 small Scallion, sliced into thin rings.

NOTES: The basic rule of thumb for a miso soup is 3 tablespoons for every 4 cups of stock. I am just making enough for two people here and you may wish to double the recipe. If you prefer a strictly vegetarian preparation, you can make a dashi that does not contain Katsuobushi, such as Kombu Dashi.

The Method

Miso Soup 2

Add the Dashi to a pot along with the white parts of the scallion and the tofu cubes. Bring it to a gentle simmer but do not allow it to boil as this will diminish the more delicate flavors of the dashi.

Miso Soup 3

Put the miso in a small bowl and then scoop a small ladle full of the dashi over it and mix well before adding the contents back into the main pot. It is advisable to use this method as it is easier to mix the miso into the liquid this way. Again, do not allow the contents of the pot to boil.

Miso Soup 4

Add the Wakame and allow everything to heat through. Finally, transfer to individual soup bowls and garnish with the green parts of the scallion.

By the way, you may have noticed that no salt is added. This is because miso is quite salty already. You may, if you wish, add a little pinch of white pepper, or a few drops of sesame oil just before serving.

 

 

4 thoughts on “Miso Soup – The Basic Form…”

  1. Oh, goodie! Now I can use more of the yummy umami miso (say that three times fast) I got for the salmon, which was fan.freakin.tastic!

  2. Is there umami as rich as the soup made without the dashi? What could a nonfish-eater use, maybe mushroom of some type? Maybe be nontraditional with the tofu in prep?

    The katsuobushi dashi stock is what I use, because I think it lendsfullness, but I have friends who are strict-vegetarians. and you mention that Kombu dashi is popular,. But are there other umami enhancers that can be added to this soup, when you only want to make one soup for all of your friends at the dinner table?

    1. A ‘dashi’ is quite regularly made with Shiitake mushrooms… either by simmering orjust soaking. I *do* occasionally use a bit of mushroom soaking water in other preparations but I often find it can be slightly bitter… I have not made a stock with Shiitake alone myself. Porcini would be as useful umami-wise, I would say…

      1. That is interesting, as well as motivating… Will try an experiment with Shiitake (dried) and use different temperatures of soaking water to look into possible degrees of biiter taste. (I have always soaked with tepid purified water, in the past.) Thanks, John!

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