Right, then. Miso soup is made from dashi stock and miso paste. Miso paste is made from fermented rice, barley, soy beans, and salt. Rather like yogurt, it is apparently teeming with beneficial microbes, and in consequence is much beloved of the probiotics crowd. You can buy it at any Asian grocery, and it comes in three varieties: white (shiro), red (aka), and mixed (awase). I have been using white miso, which is milder than red, and also easier to get.
The lovely thing about miso soup is that you can put in it whatever you please. The list below is what I put in my standard breakfast miso, but feel free to experiment. The food ninjas will not come for you. I promise. If they do, let me know and I’ll have a word with them.
- 1 tablespoon white miso
- 2 cups dashi stock
- Bunapi mushrooms
- Shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- Extra-firm tofu
- Spring onion, sliced
- Mung bean sprouts
- Udon noodles, prepared according to package (Optional. I don’t actually put these in unless I’ve made this for dinner, which has happened all of once, as my father despises miso)
Prep time: max 10 minutes
First you’re going to prepare the miso. If you just spoon it in right out of the jar, you’ll wind up with unpleasant globs throughout your soup. That is not what we want. Instead, mix the miso with a couple of tablespoons of water until it’s thin and runny but still opaque. Set this aside for now.
Cook the mushrooms and tofu in the dashi stock. Once they’re cooked to your taste and the water is boiling, add the spring onions. Remove the pot from the heat and add the miso. Stir it a little bit to disperse, and then serve immediately, over your noodles if you included those. If the soup is left to sit, the miso will cook and all of those wonderful probiotic properties will be destroyed (tragedy, no?). More importantly, it will go grainy and taste weird.
Add the mung bean sprouts at the table. They also get weird if left in the hot soup too long before eating.
Stop reading this. Now. Go make yourself some soup.