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Miso Soup: No longer a Side Note Appetizer

March 27, 2011
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Miso Soup

Miso soup is one of my favorite soups, it is full of umami from the dashi and seaweed. Sadly, we usually see it in Japanese restaurants served to us as free appetizer. It’s often cold by the time it arrives to the table and there are only a few strands of seaweed and 2 tiny cubes of tofu. I like mine where the tofu is of a substantial size where I can taste the dashi and seaweed flavors in each bite.

After talking to a few of my Japanese friends they all suggested that I try making my own dashi from real kombu (edible kelp) and bonito flakes it has much more flavor than the instant dashi granuals. Dashi is the fundamental to Japanese cooking; it is a cooking stock that is added to just about everything including soups, sauces, and marinades. I was surprised to find how easy it is to make dashi and how much more flavor it adds to the soup. If you don’t have the time for a homemade dashi you can always use instant dashi granules that you can find at any specialty food store, even Whole Foods carries it in the ethnic section.  In this recipe, you just replace the 4 cups of dashi with 4 cups of water and 1 1/2 teaspoons of instant dashi granules.

Wakame is a dried seaweed, there are many kinds and you want to get the thinly cut kind made especailly for miso soup. You just have to soak it in a little water for 15-20 minutes and drain out the water. Miso paste is packed with flavor and is used a lot in Japanes cookery. There are two kinds of miso paste, light and dark for the miso soup I prefer the light version. Be careful not to boil the miso- it becomes gritty when overcooked, it only needs to be mixed into the boiled liquid.

This soup is light but deep in flavor and is part of every Japanese meal. I goes amazingly with a roll of sushi and a plate of tempura… but I think today I just want it on it’s own.

Miso Soup
Serves 4

4 cups       dashi
1/2 cup     miso paste
1 tbsp        dried wakame  (a type of seaweed for miso soup)
1/2 cup     cubed organic tofu
2 tbsp       chopped green scallions

Miso Soup Ingredients
1. Prepare wakame, soak wakame (dry seaweed) with warm water let stand for 15 minutes or until reconsituted. Drain in a sieve.

Soaking Shredded Kombu

2. To make soup, stir together miso and 1/2 cup dashi in a bowl until smooth. Heat remaining dashi in a saucepan over moderately high heat until hot, then gently stir in tofu and the reconstituted wakame. Simmer for 1 minute and remove from heat. and stir in miso mixture

3. To Serve, ladle soup into small bowls, top with scallion greens and serve immediately.

*Notes about the ingredients:
Dashi is Japanese stock, it’s the base of many Japanese dishes such as soups, dipping sauces and marinades. It’s light in flavor and packed with umami. It’s made from kombu (dried kelp) and katsuo-bushi (bonito flakes), you can get the recipe here. However, if you don’t have the time for a homemade dashi you can always use instant dashi that you can purchase at any specialty food store, even Whole Foods carries it in the ethnic section.

Wakame is a dried seaweed, there are many kinds and you want to get the thinly cut kind made especailly for miso soup. You just have to soak it in a little water for 15-20 minutes and drain out the water.

Miso paste is packed with flavor and is used a lot in Japanese cookery. There are two kinds of miso paste, light and dark for the miso soup I prefer the light version. Be careful not to boil the miso- it becomes gritty when overcooked, it only needs to be mixed into the boiled liquid.

Printable Recipe

Miso Soup

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2011 5:44 pm

    I love miso soup, for some reason thought it would be difficult to make. thanks for breaking it down for us!

  2. April 10, 2011 3:10 pm

    And if you have the extra time… maybe some sushi to wash down the Miso Soup

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