Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Healthy Life: Miso Soup

I have a new daily ritual - enjoying a delicious, hot cup of miso soup in the afternoon.

It began a few weeks ago with a longing for the miso soup they make at our local sushi train, yet the long drive across town was unrealistic (especially when I began craving it at 2am!) So, off to the asian grocer I went for the few essential ingredients. I could hardly contain my joy, as the house began to fill with the sweet and salty scent of miso and dashi gently simmering away on the stove. I was surprised that it tasted just as amazing as any restaurant miso soup I've had.

Miso soup is said to have great healing properties, and according to Japanese mythology, is a gift to mankind from the god's to assure health, longevity and happiness. It is traditionally eaten before the meal, as the enzymes aid in healthy digestion. I like to enjoy a bowl before lunch, or just after meditating, or whilst sitting in a big armchair in the sun - I'm left feeling rejuvenated, relaxed, and very healthy!

It really is very quick and easy - and oh so healthy!  It contains five main ingredients; Dashi, Miso, a land vegetable, a sea vegetable, and a garnish.

Dashi - a stock of komu (kelp), kezurikatsuo (shavings of preserved, fermented bonito) and filtered water - can be bought from asian grocers or made from scratch.  
Miso paste is ground and fermented grain/s (soy, barley, rice) and comes in many varieties, the basics being white and red. White is mild and slightly sweet, perfect for novice/Western palates, while the red is robust and salty. I prefer Hatcho miso, a dark red soy paste with salty, savoury notes, highly revered in Japan for its medicinal properties. 
The land vegetable can be anything you like! Leafy asian greens work best, as well as root vegetables - my favourites are bok/pak choy or thinly sliced daikon or spring onions. 
The 'sea vegetable' is obviously seaweed, particularly wakame, however I have used pieces of sushi nori (the seaweed sheets for sushi rolls) when I couldn't get to my asian grocer.
And last but definitely not least is the garnish - regarded in Japanese cuisine as an absolute must - the garnish assures you that the food is made with attention and pride! I like to sprinkle fresh or fried spring onions over my miso soup just before serving.

A misconception is that miso soup must have tofu, however, if you don't like tofu then don't add it! Most Japanese restaurants serve miso soup with tofu anyway. I adore the smooth texture of silken tofu so it is always present in mine. Feel free to add udon or ramen noodles, mushrooms, chickpeas, even a bowl of wild rice, to transform this into a meal-sized portion.

Enough of my ramblings, and onto this very easy, very delicious recipe!

Miso Soup

 1 litre dashi stock
10 grams wakame (or seaweed of your  choice)
3 tablespoons miso paste 
1 cup 'land' vegetable of your choice
150 grams silken tofu, cubed (optional)
garnish of your choice (eg. fresh spring onions)

 1. place the dashi in a pot over a medium flame. When dashi begins to simmer, lower heat, add the seaweed, and allow to simmer for a minute or two.
2.  in a small bowl, gently mix the miso paste with a table spoon of the hot dashi stock, stirring until the miso has dissolved. Pour the miso/dashi mixture into the pot, stirring to combine. Bring to gentle simmer, remove from heat.
3. add small cubes of the tofu to the bottom of bowl (optional) and pour hot soup on top.
4. sprinkle with garnish and serve immediately. ENJOY!

Have you ever had Miso soup, or would you try it?
Let me know!


  1. I love Miso soup but I have never made it

    1. I totally recommend it- whip up a pot, find a spot to sit down and relax, and drink up all it's deliciousness!


  2. Miso soup is soooo delicious! I had a big tub of it in the fridge but threw it out when we moved.
    Warms the cockels of your heart!

    1. So true, Rin! There's something wonderfully comforting about it.


  3. I never knew how easy it would be to make! I only had it for the first time late last year when my brother and I went to a lovely Japanese restaurant whilst I was visting in NZ. Thanks for sharing x

    1. Thanks, Lisa - and my pleasure!

      I was also surprised by how easy it was to make! I think the hardest part was deciphering the Japanese instructions on the pack, but that's what Google is for, right?


  4. yum! I love miso so much. I've been known to stop in a wee Japanese place on the way home for miso after a long day ... it cures everything! x

    1. Agreed, G! Bless the local Japanese restaurant - ours greets and says goodbye in Japanese which brings me so much joy every time we drop by! (as well as the amazing food!)


  5. i love miso soup but i've never thought to make it, you've inspired me!

    p.s. thanks so much for all your lovely comments on my blog lately. they always make my day :)


    1. thank you for your comments here, Gaby - they make MY day! :)

      Sar x


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