Miso soup is traditionally prepared with miso and dashi. It’s a very important food to the Japanese. If you want to know all about the true, authentic miso soup, allow me to introduce you to Google which can direct you to the knowledge you seek.
For the last few years I’ve been making Miso-ish soup (miso adjacent?). Whatever it is, it’s tasty.
A few words about miso. It’s a thick, sticky fermented paste usually made out of rice or barley or soybeans. The taste is pungent and salty. Miso isn’t quick to prepare from scratch. The fermentation can take years.
If you’re curious to learn how to make it from scratch, this video shows a Japanese family and friends during a miso-making weekend.
And a few words about dashi. According to Wikipedia,
“Dashi (出汁, だし) is a class of soup and cooking stock, considered fundamental to Japanese cooking…. The most common form of dashi is a simple broth or stock made by heating water containing kombu (edible kelp) and kezurikatsuo (shavings of katsuobushi – preserved, fermented tuna) to near-boiling, then straining the resultant liquid.”
That’s all you’ll hear about dashi, since I don’t use it in my miso soup.
Where’s the tofu?
I don’t believe that tofu as it’s prepared in Japan is a problem. However, most soybeans in the world are genetically modified. For that reason and others, I avoid soy whenever possible. That said, I do use soybean miso because it is organic (and therefore, not GMO) and it’s the only one I’ve found that isn’t pasteurized.
Although the recipe seems long, it’s one of the fastest soups I make. So with no further ado, here is my not-very-authentic miso soup.
Bone broth – I use chicken broth, but fish broth would be closer to dashi.
- carrot, preferably organic
- green onions, preferably organic
- tbsp. dried wakame (a form of seaweed) mushrooms
Soy sauce, try to get a traditionally prepared Japanese brand.
- A few tablespoons of thin rice noodles (optional)
- 1 tbsp. miso, preferably unpasteurized
- 1 egg, preferably pastured
- Place some bone broth pot (I used a 3 liter pot – about 3 quarts). I’m not writing a quantity because anyone, mine may be more or less concentrated than yours.
- Fill the pot 2/3 of the way with water and bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer.
- Grate a carrot and add it to the pot (rather than slicing matchstick sized pieces of carrot)
- Cut 2 green onions into thin slivers and toss it in the pot.
- Add the wakame. This stuff softens as soon as it hits the water. Kinda cool.
- Slice mushrooms into small pieces and add. I used one monstrously large one, equivalent to about 4 normal champignon mushrooms.
- Remove about a ¼ cup of broth and let it sit to cool in a bowl.
- Add the noodles if you’re using them. I skipped them this time.
- With a fork, beat one egg in a separate bowl. Add a bit of soy sauce to the eggs.
- Using a fork, dip the fork into the egg them into boiling soup. Egg drops will form.
- Add soy sauce to taste. It doesn’t traditionally belong in there, but I like it.
- Turn off the soup. Add room-temperature water to fill the pot.
- Mix the miso paste with the cooled soup to blend it. You don’t want to just plop the miso into the soup for 2 reasons. First, the miso is very thick and you need to make sure it dissolves. No one wants to eat a big chunk of miso. Second, miso is probiotic, so you don’t want to put it directly into boiling soup which will kill those beneficial bacteria.
- When the miso has dissolved and the soup has cooled down a little (adding water in step 12 helps), add the miso to the soup.
Note: When you warm the soup, don’t bring it to a boil. That way the probiotic qualities of the miso remain.