We want to share a recipe we believe is beneficial to learn. We figured the beginning of a new year is the perfect timing for a dish that is both delicious AND full of healthy and beneficial ingredients.
Miso soup is one of the fundamental dishes in Japanese cuisine. It is part of the traditional Japanese breakfast (with a bowl of rice and pickles) but is also served at lunch or dinner alongside other dishes. Miso soup is very well known, but not so many people actually know how to prepare it. The recipe below is our version of the Miso soup by our chef, Monique, who has studied macrobiotic cooking. The recipe might not be fully like the traditional Japanese version, partly because it is plant-based. Still, it follows the standard principles and is both delicious and incredibly nutritious.
A basic miso soup consists of just two things:
- Dashi stock
- Miso paste
Add seasonal vegetables to the above, and that’s your miso soup!
Dashi is a broth or bouillon traditionally made from dried Kombu, thick seaweed, and bonito flakes. We prepare our plant-based dashi with kombu, dried shiitake mushrooms, and ginger.
What is Miso?
Miso is a thick paste used as a seasoning, produced by a long process of fermentation of soybeans, salt and koji (a fungus that starts the fermentation process). When producing miso, a grain, like rice (brown or white) or barley, is often added, each giving a different taste. We prefer to use high-quality, organic miso, which you can buy at your local organic grocery store. Miso can be used as a seasoning for all kinds of dishes, but for now, let’s start with making miso soup. When using miso paste, ensure the water stays under boiling, as it will ruin the fermentation benefits.
The benefits of miso soup
Miso is incredibly nutritious and linked to various health benefits, including better digestion and a stronger immune system. In the process of fermentation, probiotic bacteria are formed, and the fermentation itself makes it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients. The miso paste and the dashi (broth) are rich in several minerals such as calcium, iodine, magnesium and more. It can help you cleanse your system. Which is something many of us strive for in January.
A basic miso soup is warming, nourishing, and very simple to prepare. Once you have the right (just a few) ingredients at home, you can easily make miso soup every other day.
If you say MISO, we say SOUP!
1L Miso soup
Serves 4 people.
• Kombu, one strip (make sure not to remove the white powder on the kombu; this is the good stuff and contains lots of minerals).
• Dried shitake mushroom, 5 or 6 pieces.
• Ginger, 3 cm max, thinly sliced.
• Optional: a small handful of dried daikon (see ingredients picture).
• Seasonal vegetables cut into small slices. In the soup seen here, Monique used daikon.
• Wakame, a small handful.
• Watercress (or chopped parsley or spring onions cut into small rings).
• Miso paste, 3 or 4 tablespoons. Which miso to use per season? We use dark rice miso in winter and lighter barley miso in spring. Shiro miso is the lightest option with less salt. You can always add Shiro miso to your darker miso, no matter the season.
• Toasted sesame seeds as garnish.
• Silken tofu, cut into small pieces.
• Shoyu, taste as you prefer.
Dashi first (a few hours before cooking or the night before)
1. We start with the dashi broth. Use a large pot filled with 1L cold water. Add the kombu shitake mushrooms, ginger, and dried daikon, if using. Cover the pot and soak for a couple of hours or overnight.
From dashi to miso soup
2. In a large soup pot, bring the dashi broth to a boil, turn down the heat slightly after boiling, and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Strain the broth over a collider. Pick out the kombu (save it and dry it for next time), and shitake (save it for later).
4. Put the liquid back into the pot and slowly bring it to a boil again.
5. Add the vegetable(s) of choice.
6. Remove the harsh stems from the shitake and slice them into small pieces. Add to the soup.
7. Add the wakame to the soup.
8. Prep the miso paste by mixing 3 tablespoons of miso with a little bit of soup liquid. Monique uses a maximum of 4 tablespoons per litre. You can start with 3 and add more to your preference.
9. Remove the pot from the heat when the vegetables are just about soft (but not overcooked).
It’s recommended to never add miso to boiling liquid as it loses most of the beneficial aspects.
10. When the pot is removed from the heat, wait 2 minutes or so before adding the liquid miso paste to the soup, creating a cloud-like effect.
11. Add the silken tofu, optional.
12. Serve the soup with watercress and toasted sesame seeds as garnish.
If you want, you can add shoyu to taste (soy sauce).