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