Miso soup is a staple in Japanese restaurants, where the slightly cloudy broth is always a comforting, warming appetizer to enjoy before a meal. But did you know it's also easy to make at home?
The soup begins with dashi, a stock made from dried bonito fish flakes and the firm, flavorful seaweed known as kombu. For texture, tofu and wakame, another sea vegetable, are added to the dashi; finally, to make it miso soup, one must add miso, a traditional Japanese seasoning made from fermented rice and soybeans. It's salty, it's filled with umami flavor, and it gives the soup its famous cloudy appearance.
The next time you plan to make sushi or another Japanese dish for dinner, consider starting the evening off with a traditional bowl of miso soup; while the ingredients may sound obscure, they can all be located at Whole Foods stores, health food markets, or Asian grocers. Or if you don't mind the smell of the sea in the morning, make like the Japanese, and eat miso soup with white rice for breakfast! Keep reading for the recipe.
If you prefer things on the saltier side, use broth, which is typically salted. Otherwise, use stock, which is typically made without salt.
Miso soup does not reheat well. If you do not anticipate eating the full amount, halve the recipe.
1/2-ounce dried wakame sea vegetable
5 cups vegetable stock or broth
1/2 cup dried bonito flakes
5-inch piece dried kombu sea vegetable
1/2 package medium or firm tofu, cut in 1/4-inch square pieces
4 tablespoons miso paste
1-2 green onions, cut on a bias, for garnish
Shoyu or soy sauce, to taste
- Soak wakame in a small bowl filled with water for 10 minutes. Drain and cut into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
- In a small stockpot, combine stock (or broth) and kombu and bring to a boil. Turn off flame and add bonito flakes. Stir to combine, then strain broth in a mesh sieve. Return stock to the pot, and discard bonito and kombu. On a low flame, add tofu and wakame to stock and heat for 1-2 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup of hot stock with miso paste, until miso dissolves and a thick, milky liquid forms. Pour miso mixture into stock pot and stir to combine. Remove stock from the flame. Add shoyu or soy sauce to taste. Divide miso into bowls and garnish with green onion.
- Seafood, Appetizers