Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup consisting of a dried bonito and kelp stock called “dashi”, into which softened miso paste is mixed. The choice of miso paste for the miso soup defines a great deal of its character and flavor.
Miso pastes (a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting soybeans with salt and the fungus Aspergillus oryzae, known in Japanese as kōjikin (麹菌), and sometimes rice, barley, or other ingredients) can be categorized into red (akamiso), white (shiromiso), or mixed (awase).
A miso paste that has been fermented for a longer period of time, such as a red miso, gives the miso soup a stronger, deeper flavor. A miso paste that has been fermented for a shorter period of time, such as a white miso, provides a lighter, sweeter flavor.
More than 80% of Japan’s total annual production of miso goes into miso soup, and 75% of all Japanese consume miso soup at least once a day.
Miso soup was studied after the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, by a physician named Tatuichiro Akizuki. Even though he and 20 other employees were in Nagasaki treating patients with acute tuberculosis, they did not develop radiation disease. He figured out it was because he and his staff consumed large amounts of wakame miso soup. Wakame is a type of seaweed that has also been shown to help reduce radiation damage.
! Buy the most expensive konbu kelp and Wakame seaweed you can find – it’s only a few dollars. Look for konbu with a lot of white powder on it, this is where all the umami flavor is concentrated! DO NOT WASH THIS POWDER OFF!!!
For the dried bonito flakes, again go with the most expensive brand – again, it’s only a few dollars for a bag.
You’ll enjoy the finest miso soup you’ll have outside of a top restaurant in Japan, I promise!
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
- Dashi Ingredients (for ½ litre dashi):
- ½ liter cold water
- 15g konbu kelp
- 15g dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi かつおぶし)
- 3 cups homemade dashi
- 3 Tbsp. miso blend – I normally use my personal blend of white, red and hatcho (barley) miso in a 60%-30%-10% ratio) – this is called Awase miso, though most versions don’t use hatcho miso – skip it if you prefer, and increase red miso to 40%
- 6 oz silken tofu or soft tofu
- 2 tsp. dried ready-to-use wakame (seaweed)
- 1 green onion/scallion
- For the dashi:
- Prepare the Primary Dashi (Ichiban Dashi, 一番 出し)Put the konbu kelp into cold water in a pot (don’t wash it!). Heat uncovered for about 10 minutes and when it is just below the boiling point, remove the konbu. Do NOT boil the konbu – it becomes bitter! If you insert your thumbnail into the konbu and you feel the flesh is soft, it means the water has sufficient flavor. If it still remains tough, put the konbu back for 1-2 minutes into the water, adding some more (2 tablespoons) cold water to stop it from boiling.
- Remove the konbu.
- Bring the stock to a boil. Add 2 more tablespoons cold water and immediately add the dried bonito flakes.
- Bring once more to a boil, and quickly put aside. Wait for the flakes to fall down to the bottom of the pan (it will take at most 1 minute). Remove the foam and filter the stock through a sieve lined with a piece of cheesecloth.
- For making the miso soup:
- Soak dried wakame in water to rehydrate for 10 minutes and drain well. Finely slice the green onion.
- Put 1 Tbsp. of miso in a ladle (or strainer) and blend it with dashi until it is thoroughly mixed (skipping this step guarantees lumps). Continue this process until miso is all used. Usually for each cup of dashi, you will need about 1 Tbsp. of miso.
- If you decide to add tofu in your miso soup, be aware that tofu dilutes the soup a bit, so you might want to add ½ Tbsp. more miso.
- Put the rehydrated wakame and sliced green onions in each bowl. If using, cut tofu into ½” (1 cm) cubes and add to the soup. Stir very gently without breaking the tofu.Return the miso soup to a slight simmer until heated through and pour into the bowls. Be careful not to boil the miso soup because miso will lose flavor.
- Category: Recipes
- Calories: 83.06 kcal
- Sugar: 1.2 g
- Sodium: 778.79 mg
- Fat: 3.81 g
- Saturated Fat: 0.75 g
- Carbohydrates: 4.85 g
- Fiber: 0.92 g
- Protein: 8.47 g
- Cholesterol: 1.79 mg
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