Miso is delicious, nutritious, and very nourishing. In a pinch, I can make do with a dried powder packet to make a cup on the go, but nothing compares to a bowl of real miso made from scratch.
Miso is one of those truly delicious, simple soups that I go for whenever I’m not feeling myself. It cures colds, sniffles, coughs, and even hangovers! The rich, salty, nutritious broth goes down easy but offers complex nutrition to needy bodies.
There are many ways of making miso soup, but I’m offering a very basic recipe below that includes traditional ingredients. Don’t worry if you don’t have any of the dashi ingredients or wakame on hand, you can use any broth you want as a base – the miso paste is the most important part!
Simple Miso Soup
- a pinch of dried wakame
- 2 cups dashi (any broth will do, but dashi is the best)
- 1/4 block of tofu, cubed
- 2 tablespoons miso paste
- scallions (optional)
Making Miso Soup
- Reconstitute the wakame in water for about ten minutes, then strain and set aside.
- Heat most of the dashi or stock to a low simmer, reserving a half cup.
- Add the cubed tofu and wakame to the simmering dashi and let it cook for a few minutes.
- Turn off the heat and let the soup cool a bit.
- Put the miso paste in a mug and add the half cup of reserved dashi. Mix it well until no lumps remain.
- Pour the cup of mixed miso paste mixture into the hot soup and stir.
- Serve immediately!
Let’s talk about some of these Miso ingredients individually:
Dashi is a simple stock made from three ingredients: water, bonito, and kombu. Bonito is flakes of dried bonito fish, and kombu is dried kelp. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can use shiitake instead of bonito. TheKitchn has a guide for making dashi from scratch.
For a quick and easy dashi, I tend to use pre-made stock granules like Hondashi. They are full of delicious MSG. Yummy!
Wakame is an edible seaweed. It is an abundant plant that has been farmed for many years. It is a high source of Omega-3 fatty acid and it is often used in vegetarian and macrobiotic diets as well as in beauty products. Crumble your wakame into small flakes before you soak it, especially if it comes in sheets. Wakame expands in water! You don’t need more than a pinch or two per serving.
Tofu is a soybean curd that comes in blocks. It has been a traditional cuisine in use throughout Asia for over 2,000 years, with many regional variations in flavor and texture. The miso most often available in the West is rather bland and adapts well to many different recipes and techniques of preparation. It is high in protein and iron and low in calories. You can get it in different thicknesses and textures. For miso, I prefer to use firm tofu.
There is such a variety of miso pastes! You can find miso made with chickpeas instead of soybeans. White miso, red miso, and brown rice miso, all lined up on a shelf in the store. While they are all made using the same basic process, they end up being quite different in color and flavor.
I have a strong brand preference when it comes to Miso paste. I’ve used Miso Master Miso for many years now. The American Miso Co. is located in western North Carolina, within an hour of my home. I got to tour their facility and see the miso-making process up close. Their Tamari sauce is simply to die for!
Now I’ve given you the basics of Miso – why not take it up a notch and add to it? You can add rice noodles, mushrooms, a variety of vegetables, or spice it up with peppery sauces! Once you master the basic recipe, play around and make it your own.