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05 March 2013

Miso Soup

I am grateful for the warmth and comfort that soups give when I am down with something.  There's a bug going around our family that left all four of us sick.  Three with fever and fortunately, our little princess was spared from it but she's also coughing around like the rest of us.  My husband and I passed a weekend of alternating in standing up from the bed and taking care of the family.  He was down on Saturday and my turn came on Sunday when high fever sent me completely useless.  It's hard when both parents are sick and there are also sick kids to take care of.  We passed the weekend pushing ourselves to the limit.  We did it and that's what's important.

Miso soup is one of my favorite soups.  I love starting my meal in Japanese restaurants with a simple bowl of hot miso soup.  It is peculiar and delicious.  I only get to have it in Japanese restaurants until my friend Nami of Just One Cookbook came out with her recipe.  I didn't know how easy it was to make.  The only hindrance I encountered was the availability of dashi which she took care of by sending me a pack of dashi packets once.  Dashi stock is used in a lot of other dishes so it's a fundamental ingredient Japanese cooking.  If you would like to make dashi stock from scratch, here's her recipe.

There are two main ingredients to the basic miso soup.  Miso and dashi stock.  Tofu, wakame (seaweed, not to be confused with nori) and spring onions are all optional.  Miso paste comes in a variety of colors and degrees of saltiness, namely, white, red and beige.  White is shiro and it's the mildest among the three.  Red is aka (the one I have) and it's the saltiest among the three.  The third one is a blend of white and red which comes out beige and it's called awase.  It also has the middle taste.  Here's an informative page of Let's Cooking about miso

Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead!

Miso Soup

Original recipe adapted from JUST ONE COOKBOOK

Serves 3 - 4
  • 1 packet dashi packet (or 3 teaspoons dashi powder)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1-1/2 to 3 tablespoons miso (There are different kinds of miso: aka/red miso; shiro/white miso; awase/mixed miso.  The saltiness of each kind varies so adjust by taste.  I used red so I used about  1 1/2 whereas in the original recipe where white was used, it's 2 1/2 - 3.)
  • 1/2  package soft tofu (about 5 - 10 oz.) (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried wakame (seaweed) (optional)
  • 1 green onion (optional)
  1. To make the dashi stock:  If you are using a dashi packet (some brands of dashi packets may ask you to add the packet after water boils), combine the packet with water in a medium saucepan.  Let the water boil on medium heat while covered.  After the water boils, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.  Discard the packet.  If you are using dashi powder, bring water to a boil and stir in the dashi powder.  
  2. Using a small strainer, add the miso in the dashi stock. If you don’t have one, use a ladle and dissolve the miso in the ladle to make sure that it is dissolved completely.  Since miso can vary in saltiness with every kind and brand, taste the soup first before adding more.  
  3. If you are putting tofu in your miso soup, note that tofu dilutes the soup a little bit so you might want to add ½ tablespoon more of miso.  Cut the tofu into small cubes and add them to the soup. Stir the soup gently without breaking up the tofu.  Don't let the soup boil because the miso will lose its flavor.
  4. If you are adding the wakame (seaweed), put the dried wakame in a small bowl of water and let it soak.
  5. Cut the green onion to small round pieces. Put the wakame and green onion in the serving bowls. When you are ready to serve, pour the hot miso soup in the bowl.