Tasty Miso Soup Recipe
This difference is two-fold. First, the ingredients are not the same as you would normally use in soups. Second, the preparation is slightly different in that the thickener, miso, is kept relatively cool during the cooking process as compared to corn starch or flour which need to be boiled. Miso is not really a thickener, but more of a “suspension” that adds a distinct flavor and texture to the broth.
A Miso soup recipe calls for three elements: Miso (a paste made from fermented soy beans, or sometimes rice or barley), a stock called “dashi”, and solid ingredients.
Miso is added to a small amount of the dashi and then added to the soup at the end of the cooking process.
Dashi is a stock that can be made from various different ingredients, but rarely, if ever, is created by simmering meat and bones as in Western soups. More often it is made by adding a dried ingredient that then dissolves in the water. Baby sardines and tuna are often used, along with dried kelp. For vegetarian soups, a mushroom dashi can be made from shiitake mushrooms.
The solid ingredients can vary widely, as much as in any other soup variety. However, to be truly authentic you must know the philosophy behind choosing the ingredients. First, seasonality is very important in Japanese cooking, so choosing ingredients that are just recently harvested is a good start. Second, it is critical to choose ingredients that contrast each other on as many levels as possible.
This contrasting allows each ingredient to have a maximum contribution to the overall soup. The contrast should include taste, texture and color, but even such factors as flavor intensity and buoyancy are taken into consideration! The goal is to have two or more ingredients, none of which share any characteristics, or the least amount possible. Luckily, even with these constraints, it is possible to create thousands of variations, all with ingredients that are in season!
I do not recommend making your own miso or dashi, as it is easy enough to find the necessary ingredients in most supermarkets in the ethnic section. For the remaining ingredients, just be creative, and choose items that you enjoy!
Now for the miso soup recipe!
6 cups dashi stock (made from dashi stock powder according to product instructions)
4-5 thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
3 tablespoons miso paste
2 tablespoon soy sauce
3 ounces tofu cubed
1 green onion, sliced thinly
1. Heat stock gently on medium low in soup pot.
2. Add mushrooms and cook for three minutes
3. Ladle a small amount of dashi into a bowl. Add soy sauce and miso paste. Stir together.
4. Add miso mixture to soup and stir in.
5. Add tofu, heat soup to just below boiling.
6. Serve topped with sliced green onion.