Miso Soup – 味噌汁 – Japanese Soul Food

 Miso soup is truly Japanese soul food.  it is eaten any time of day, any season of the year.  It can be delicate and simple or, hearty, as you choose.  To it can be added meats, vegetables, seafood, tofu. It is up to you.

I make a vegetable version which I have listed below. You can use dashi in place of the water.  Dashi is easy to make.  Four cups of water and two handfuls (four small packs) of dried bonita flakes. Add the bonita to the boiling water and simmer for about three minutes. Strain. Some people add some shredded kombu (dried seaweed). The taste will be different with either just water or with dashi.

There are different kinds of miso paste. I prefer the white (shiromiso) to the red (akamiso) or mixed (awase). You can also purchase miso granules or even, dashi granules. Be aware that sometimes, these “instant” varieties can be high in sodium and/or contain MSG.  Ingredients can usually be purchased at any Asian food store or even, in regular groceries.

Ingredients added to miso soup tend to be seasonal. Usually, you have heavier ingredients that sink, such as potatoes, onions, carrots, tofu, meat and an ingredient that floats – sliced scallions, mushrooms, seaweed, slivered kale, etc. My favorite is with potatoes and onions but I also like the version below with tofu and scallions.

Simmer your veggies or meat in the dashi/broth and remove from the heat. I use a tea strainer to incorporate the miso into the broth. I immerse the strainer and add the miso to the strainer. Using a wooden spoon, I mix the miso around until it is all dissolved into the broth. I briefly reheat and add the floating ingredient. Tofu is delicate and does not need to be simmered, just heated through. Do not boil or overheat the miso. It will change the flavor and also, some of the benefits of the miso will be destroyed.

Miso Soup
4 cups water
1/3 cup miso
2 green onions (scallions) chopped
1 tbs. shredded nor or wakame seaweed
1/2 block silken tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
dash soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sesame oil (optional)
bit of finely grated fresh ginger (optional)

Preparation:  Bring water to a slow simmer and add seaweed. Allow to simmer at least 5-6 minutes. The longer you simmer the seaweed, the less of a salty fishy flavor it will have.  (I omit as I do not care for the fishy taste.)  Reduce heat to very low and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir until miso is well dissolved. Makes 4 servings.

Variation:  Peel and chop two potatoes and 1 small onion. Add to water and simmer until tender. Add the miso and scallion.

Miso Soup

Miso Soup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


24 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tails from Paris
    Oct 12, 2013 @ 02:53:23

    Thanks for your interest in “Tails from Paris”. We’re now following your blog.

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    And you’re back for dinner : we promise !

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  2. Bernice
    Oct 12, 2013 @ 11:10:09

    I love Miso soup but could never figure out how to make it! I am pinning your recipe so I can give it a try this winter!


  3. David Emeron
    Oct 14, 2013 @ 08:18:26

    Wonderful! Mrs. Emeron and I are trying every variant of this we can. Even the ‘failures” are tasty, so we have no trouble disseminating it throughout our household and surrounds.


  4. David Emeron
    Oct 14, 2013 @ 08:22:42

    I would also like to here state that I feel so very gratified that you somehow stumbled upon my tiny web presence and saw fit to share a word or two of your eclectic east-west magic! My life, as well as that of Mrs Emeron, has been greatly enriched.


  5. David Emeron
    Oct 14, 2013 @ 08:26:24

    I netbiosed a link over to Mrs. Emeron’s laptop where she will be, I hope sure to see this, in case she has not seen it already. Thank you for posting this. I am very much obliged.


    • kanzensakura
      Oct 14, 2013 @ 10:24:41

      Usually when I post a recipe especially for someone, I usually note it. I’ve had various people ask me (amazing that folks will send things to my email at times), so I just made this a broad post. I am glad to see Beni replied to you. For such a wicked humored lad, he is remarkably self-effacing. I hope the two of you will engage and enjoy dialogue. Both of you will be enriched.

      I also thank you for your kind words.
      truth be told, I cannot remember how I found your website but the one visit told me it was a place to which I wished to return many times.

      Discourse with you and your beloved has in turn enriched me. I have tried to describe to myself how the experience is: whether it is like one of those nights when I cannot sleep and sit on my back steps while silent snow falls, or a walk through spicy autumn woods, or a summer night when I sit and listen to the cicadas and watch the occasional meteor streak across the sky….all seem apt.


    • ThePlagueFairy
      Oct 14, 2013 @ 12:54:27

      Oooo, I am so excited!! Many thanks, most honored KanzenSakura! This will make my search for the perfect simple Miso Soup much easier. I have been using a Dashi Base made of granules and it makes a wonderful Ramen base but not a wonderful simple miso base. Now I know why. You are a blessing to me. Thank you for taking the time to share with us. We will enjoy this.


  6. Kev
    Oct 20, 2013 @ 10:10:32

    I’ve had this in a chinese restaurant…very nice!


  7. SirenaTales
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 13:40:37

    Yum. Hoping to try this soon. Thank you!


  8. vladrenaissance
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 08:42:52

    Hmmm, looks tasty:)


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