In traditional Japanese cuisine, miso soup is served for breakfast every day, and often served with meals as well.
- 1/2 tsp. of sesame oil
- 3 cups of water
- 2 Tbsp. of miso
- 2 green onions, finely minced (optional)
- 1/2 cake tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (optional)
- 2-3 fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced (optional)
- 5-6 shrimp, cubed or shredded (optional)
- Some pieces of seaweed (optional)
- Heat oil in the bottom of a small pot
- Add green onion (if using)
- Cook for a few minutes while stirring frequently
- Add 2 1/2 cups of water
- Bring to a boil
- Dissolve miso in 1/2 cup of water and add to pot
- Lower heat and add mushrooms, seaweed & tofu if desired
- 90% to 94% dashi (consider using instant dashi mix)
- 6% to 10% miso. It can be aka (red) or shiro (white), or a combination.
- odds and ends for garnish
The garnish would typically be two to three items that contrast in color, flavor, buoyancy, shape, texture, etc. Wakame with tofu is a standard and popular combination, especially at restaurants. Some common items for garnish are:
- finely sliced and deep-fat fried tofu (Agedashi tofu)
- finely cubed raw (silky) tofu (recommended)
- wakame seaweed (recommended)
- konbu (kelp) seaweed, perhaps left over from making dashi
- chopped scallion (recommended)
- grated daikon radish
- boiled and finely cubed potato
- clams (asari or shijimi)
- grated eggplant
- Put dashi in a pot.
- Add any garnish that needs cooking.
- Heat the dashi, letting it simmer, cooking any garnish that needs cooking. Do not bring to a rolling boil, as this degrades the flavor.
- Add any garnish that does not need cooking, and remove from heat.
- Add the miso to the soup. Avoid boiling the miso; some nuances of the flavor will be lost.
While certainly a traditional food, miso is also suited to modern interpretations. One non-traditional yet delicious way to make miso soup is as follows:
- Heat frying oil in a small pot
- Fry onions and cabbage in the oil over high heat until browned. A slight degree of burning is acceptable.
- Proceed with the traditional method listed above.
Using oil leftover from frying bacon and caramelizing the sugars in the onion and cabbage through high heat, this method produces a soup notably different from the traditional variety, and can add new interest to a classic dish. A small quantity of freshly ground black pepper added just before serving rounds out this method very well.
Simple Restaurant Miso
This miso soup is a close approximation of what you get in most cheap western Japanese restaurants. All ingredients are to taste; the primary thing is the ratio of miso to dashi.
- Dashi (roughly 250ml or 1 cup per person for a typical restaurant portion)
- Wakame, 5 or so pieces per person (Wakame is a form of edible seaweed, sold in dry curls at most Asian markets)
- Traditional tofu (medium firmness), a few one centimeter cubes per person
- Miso paste, either white, red, or a mixture (many restaurants in western Canada use white miso, also called shiro miso)
- Heat the dashi to a light simmer
- While this is heating, lay out your bowls and place the wakame and tofu in the bottom
- When the dashi simmers, take a ladle or so of liquid aside and mix into it approximately 1 tablespoon (about 15ml) of miso paste per cup of dashi stock
- Remove the pot of dashi from the stove and stir the miso prepared above into it
- Ladle some of the prepared miso into the bowls and serve
- Some prefer less miso, some prefer more. The quantity given results in the moderately-salty type popular in restaurants before meals.
- Do not permit the miso to boil; doing so alters the flavour