Miso Soup – The Basic Form…
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…
- 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.
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.
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.
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.