Post dedicated to the memory of my Dad, who today would be 93 years young…

When the weather chills down, we always have a bowl of miso soup to start our sushi dinners. I’ve never had a bad miso soup, but some are definitely better than others. Considering the very few ingredients that go into this soup, it’s clear that technique matters. Last Friday we were so tired that the idea of going out to eat seemed like too much effort, so we resorted to take-out sushi from one of our grocery stores, which is actually pretty nice. Since they don’t offer miso soup, I decided to make my own. Read a bunch of articles, and felt ready for the challenge.  It turned out delicious: soothing, with a mild flavor and smooth consistency. That is actually the most important aspect of a miso soup: it should not be grainy.


(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

4 cups water
1 tsp instant dashi (see comments)
4 Tbsp white miso
firm tofu, cut in cubes
green onions, light and green parts, thinly sliced

Boil the water in a large saucepan, add the instant dashi and mix until dissolved. Turn the heat off, keep the pan with the lid on to retain heat.

Place the miso in a small bowl, add a small amount of the very hot water/dashi, whisk to completely dissolve the miso, so that no lumps stay.

Add the miso to the original saucepan with the rest of the dashi, mix.  Add the diced tofu, let the pan covered for a couple of minutes as you place green onions inside the serving bowls.

Laddle the miso soup with pieces of tofu in each bowl, and serve immediately.

to print the recipe, click here


Comments: Obviously one cannot make miso soup without miso, but apart from that, lots of variations are out there.  Some recipes use water, some vegetable stock, others call for chicken stock.  However, for the real, authentic Japanese flavor, dashi is the way to go.  I admit to using a shortcut in my version, though.  I used instant dashi instead of making a broth with its two traditional components: seaweed and bonito flakes.  I had both ingredients at home, but when I made this soup they were somewhere in that twilight zone of boxes kept in the garage, as our kitchen is waiting for the green light from the crew working on its hellnovation.  Sanding floors and cabinets generate an amount of fine dust that you simply do not want to have over every little item in your pantry.  So, I took the easy way out and bought a little bottle of instant dashi.   It is actually a very nice ingredient to have laying around, a handy source of the funky-elusive fifth flavor, umami.


Once you have dashi (or make it from scratch),  all you’ll need is some miso and firm tofu. Green onions are a great addition, but not mandatory.  You can use either type of miso, white or red, they differ in the fermentation time, and resulting flavor. White miso will be milder.  Follow the instructions to a T, because the main thing to avoid is boiling the miso once it’s added to the dashi: that leads to an unpleasant grainy texture.  I also like to cut my tofu in small pieces and add to the pan for a couple of minutes before serving the soup.  That allows the tofu to absorb the flavors of the miso more efficiently.   With those two tips in mind, you will be on your way to a great bowl of soup to warm you up on the chilly evenings ahead.

daddy1Dad dancing with my niece Fernanda…

(No, he would not touch miso soup even if his life depended on it… ) 😉

ONE YEAR AGO: On my desk

TWO YEARS AGO: A must-make veggie puree

THREE YEARS AGO: Vegetarian Lasagna

FOUR YEARS AGO:  Brazilian Pão de Queijo


  1. My Dad would have been 93 in July, Sally. 1920 must have been a good year. 🙂
    This is such a great dish! I really do like miro soup and you’re right about dashi. It’s a must, if you ask me. Years ago, one of the first ‘international” dishes I made was miso soup. I was so proud of myself. Had it turned out badly, I wonder how big a setback my “cooking” would have suffered.


    • After 9 years without him around, there isn’t really a painful feeling, apart from the fact that I know my Mom still struggles with the huge void left by his death. But it is a natural part of life that a daughter one day will be without a father. Or so I choose to believe 😉


    • I must say I buy this brand called Marukome that comes in a sealed, thick plastic bag, and I love it! I never read reviews on different brands, so who knows? Maybe I am not following the experts… 😉


  2. Nice, Sally, especially in the midst of chaos. We all enjoy miso soup and expect a frost tonight so it sounds doubly good. I know you miss your dad; the picture is a lovely one. : )


  3. Hi Sally, I’ve never tried making my own miso soup (so glad now I can try!) but miso soup actually was a life saver for me while I was going thru my radiation for cancer treatment. I had read that it would help remove the radiation out of your body quicker, so I loaded up on miso soup at the hospital and the doctors and staff were so amazed how quickly the radiation left me body! Bring on the miso soup!!


    • I am in awe of you going through radiation treatment – what a tough thing to endure! If miso soup made it better, I toast to that and will definitely be enjoying this soup with a special respect for it from now on…


  4. I’ve got to get me some instant dashi — great find. We make some variation on miso soup frequently through the colder weather months. My versions always include miso but apart from that, they are not particularly Japanese ;-). I tend to throw all manner of veggies in there — still just as satisfying and delicious. There’s also something…spiritual about sipping broth :). Nice photo of your dad Sally.


    • Instant dashi was new to me, I had no idea it existed, and was thrilled to find it in our grocery store, as of course who knows where my bag of bonito flakes is hiding… 😉 True, sipping broth is a special thing. No spoons, just sipping – changes it all. I had this experience in California last week. Amazing how a simple gesture can “get to you”. 😉 Thanks for bringing that up….


  5. I’m pinning this one! My hubs, daughter and I are big fans of Miso.. My son, not so much. I’m going to make this. I will have to go pick up the ingredients. This is such a healthy soup, it’s so soothing on the throat, isn’t it? Must be the silky tofu texture. xx


    • Agree, healthy and so quick its almost a “non-recipe” – but simple can be hard to get just right, and I think one can have less than great miso soup for that reason…


  6. so, you were not in the mood to cook…. Your dad, who I had the privilege to know, would be bragging about this blog “this is MY daughter’s..!


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