The belly-warming broth, the nourishing wakame, the silky soft bits of tofu… miso soup is something I’ve never been able to pass up when dining in a Japanese restaurant. (Especially after eating my weight in sushi.) For dessert, I would resist the green tea ice cream and happily sip at a some soothing miso soup instead.
Of course, in true Dana fashion, my adoration for this soup eventually developed some serious curiosity. After my meal, I’d whirl my spoon around in the mesmerizing cloudy broth to disrupt the suspended miso and wonder if this good stuff was something I could easily whip up in my own kitchen.
Fabulous news, friends: it is *so* easy.
(No really, it’s pretty effortless.)
With a few easy-to-acquire ingredients and 15 measly minutes, you can be delving into your very own bowl of restaurant-quality miso soup in the comfort of your own home.
You don’t even have to put pants on for this.
Depending on the region, the season, and whoever is wearing the chef hat, miso soup can be prepared several different ways. Some recipes keep it simple like I did here, but others incorporate mushrooms, carrots, daikon, meat, etc. The one constant when it comes to miso soup is that beautiful broth.
The base of this traditional Japanese soup is made up of dashi and softened miso paste. If you’re vegetarian, you’ll want to use a kombu dashi. An important step to factor into your soup making is that the miso paste needs to be added to the dashi after its been removed from the heat and is no longer simmering. If the miso paste is added to a simmering broth, it will cook. Cooking miso paste will kill beneficial bacteria, reduce the health benefits of biologically active miso paste, and it will alter the flavor. So don’t cook the miso!
If I just made that sound complicated, I apologize. Don’t fret. It’s as easy as bringing a pot of dashi to a simmer, mixing one cup of separate dashi or water with a few tablespoons of miso paste, mixing it until the miso paste is well blended, removing the simmering dashi from the stove, and then pouring the miso mixture into the dashi. That’s it.
And that is how you get those pretty clouds in your soup.
You’ve probably enjoyed this dish for lunch or dinner (and apparently I like to enjoy it for “dessert”), but miso soup is actually part of a traditional Japanese breakfast along with white rice! There are tons of other dishes that serve as breakfast, some including egg and fish, but miso soup has been cherished by both commoners and royalty for several centuries. The soup is usually served in lacquer bowls with lids. The lids retain heat and stop that amazing aroma from escaping. The solid ingredients, like the veggies and tofu, are eaten with chopsticks — but the miso broth is often slurped directly from the bowl.
THIS RECIPE IS PART OF MY EAST SERIES.
In this series, I’ll be covering dishes from Japan, China and Korea to cover East Asia, followed by dishes from Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia to cover Southeast Asia.
Making this recipe? Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram: @Killing__Thyme /#killingthyme. For more delish eats, follow me on INSTAGRAM + PINTEREST.
Easy 15-Minute Miso Soup
- 4 cups dashi stock homemade or with stock (I like to use Hon Dashi brand if I'm not making it myself)
- 3 TBSP white miso paste
- 6 oz silken tofu cubed
- 1 sheet of dried wakame (seaweed) sliced into ribbons or broken into pieces
- 1 scallion thinly sliced
- Wakame: Once you've sliced/broken the wakame, you want to rehydrate it. Place all of the wakame in a small bowl of tepid water and let it sit for 10 minutes. Drain it well.Tofu: Cut the silken tofu into small or bite-sized cubes.Scallions: Thinly slice and set aside.
- Place 3 cups of dashi into a medium saucepan over moderate heat and bring to a boil. Set one cup of dashi aside.
- Once the dashi is boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low, and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- In the meantime, add 3 TBSP of miso paste to the cup of dashi you set aside. Stir until the miso paste has broken down and blended with the water.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat, and add the miso mixture to the dashi. You'll immediately see those gorgeous miso clouds (and you'll probably get very excited)!
- Add the cubed tofu.
- Equally divide the wakame and place into the middle of your serving bowls.
- Spoon miso soup into the serving bowls.
- Garnish with scallions and enjoy!
Make your own dashi…
- JustOneCookbook.com — It’s safe to say that 90 per cent of what I’ve learned in Japanese cooking has come from Nami and her amazing blog. Nami, if you read this, thank you.