Cooking Local: Miso Soup

CONTRIBUTED BY PENNY VAN HEERDEN

Miso soup ingredients

My two-year-old daughter loves miso soup and even enjoys the seaweed.  As she can sometimes be full of nonsense about food this is a great discovery for me. Another healthy food that she actually enjoys, to add to her repertoire. The great thing about miso soup is that once you have bought the main ingredients it is quick and easy to make. You can cook up a pot in about ten minutes to go with almost any meal just as the Japanese do.  I am not sure that the Japanese would serve a bowl of miso soup with sausages and mashed potato but then again, why not?

Just a couple of notes about the ingredients:  The miso paste can be any kind you find at the supermarket. There are many different varieties but unless you are a connoisseur, it isn’t easy to tell the difference.  We find that the light brown is tasty and not too salty.  Some of the darker brown or redder varieties have much stronger flavors.

The bonito shavings are called katsuo in Japanese.  They look like bits of wood or sawdust but have a wonderful fishy smell.  In markets, you can see the katsuo, which look like bits of wood, being shaved fresh.  This is wonderful if you make Japanese stock regularly.  However, katsuo does lose its flavor so this latest find of the individual packets as shown in the photo is ideal if you don’t want to make miso soup on a daily basis.  The packets seal in the flavor and it can last longer.

The wakame seaweed is usually sold close to the miso paste.  The one I used has dried wakame, dried green onion and fu (wheat gluten).  The seaweed absorbs the soup and swells to 3 or 4 times its original size so limit to one handful at a time.

Ingredients (To serve two adults and one child)

3 cups water

2 large handfuls of bonito shavings (or 2 small individual packets)

2 tablespoons of miso paste

Small squares of tofu

1 handful of dried wakame seaweed

Any small mushrooms such as those pictured (optional)

Method

1.    Add the bonito flakes to 2 cups of water and bring to the boil.

Add bonito flakes

2.    Remove the flakes, either by straining the stock through a sieve or use one of the pictured hand held strainers.  Discard the flakes.

Hand held strainer
Remove shavings

3.    Dissolve the miso paste slowly into the stock.

Dissolve miso paste

4.    Add the tofu and a handful of seaweed.

Add wakame

5.    Sauté the mushrooms and add.

Saute mushrooms

6.    Bring to the boil once more and serve.

Serve


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5 Comments
  • April 20, 2011

    Great recipe! Thank you! I will try it for sure!

    Reply
  • April 4, 2011

    Sometimes I find I have been here so long that I forget that people can’t read or know what the various packages of Japanese food is. My bad. In the photo above the recipe the miso paste is in the plastic bag on the bottom left corner. It is also common to find it square plastic containers. It kind of looks like peanut butter with a similar consistency.

    Guess I should make Okinawa soba sometime this week. 🙂

    Penny
    Reply
  • December 7, 2010

    How do we know what Miso paste looks like??

    Also hoping someone will post on ramen as well.

    Kim
    Reply
  • August 20, 2010

    My son also loves miso which is good because he’s become somewhat of a picky eater. I found you can find all the ingredients at the commissary as well but you have to do a little bit more digging in the Japanese section. They didn’t have bonito but you can easily substitute with dashi which come in small packets. Love miso soup, thanks for sharing!

    Kristine
    Reply
  • August 20, 2010

    Great recipe! I have always wanted to make miso at home and have it be just as yummy as it is at the restaurants our family frequent! Thank you thank you! I will be trying this out for sure!

    Any chance a ramen or soba recipe is next on the to write list? I’d love to learn those as well!

    Mindy
    Reply