Rounding Out a Japanese Meal with the Always Ubiquious Miso Soup

Miso Soup - Sora No Woto 03 - 01Miso soup is probably the most well known Japanese dish outside of Japan, second only to sushi. In anime, it is found very often as a side dish accompanying a myriad of Japanese meals, from grilled fish and tamago yaki, to gyu-don and deep fried shrimp, and can be seen served in traditional lacquer bowls accompanying every meal from breakfast to dinner.

There are many variations of miso soup that can be made… it could be made with clams, contain mochi (also called ozoni, and eaten on/around new year’s day), or even be served as the soup base for noodles (like miso ramen!). But, as usual, it’s always a good idea to start with the basics…. so, today’s recipe will be all about traditional miso soup!

About the recipe:

Miso Soup - Tari Tari 07 - 01Miso soup is pretty easy to make, but the most important thing is to make sure it doesn’t boil, the reason being that boiling the miso will change its taste.

When adding the miso to the dashi stock, it’s important to taste the soup in between each tablespoon added, since miso pastes vary in saltiness and strength of flavour. For this reason, a range of miso amounts are given in the recipe below. To make sure your miso ends up tasting perfect, make sure to taste your soup as you add the miso. I like to taste every tablespoon or so.

To make sure that all of the miso added is dissolved into the soup (and so you get an accurate tasting of the soup), I like to use a ladle or a mesh strainer. For both methods, just rest your ladle or strainer in the liquid and use the hot dashi stock to dissolve the miso in the ladle or strainer using a spoon to stir it around.

About the ingredients:

Miso Soup - Oreimo 10 - 01Dashi is Japanese fish stock. It commonly comes in the form of powder or granules, dissolving once wet into a clear broth. In this dish, it forms the base stock for the soup.

Miso is a thick and salty Japanese seasoning that is typically made by fermenting soybeans. It is available is most Asian grocery stores. There are three main types of miso: akamiso (aka meaning red), shiromiso (shiro meaning white), and awasemiso (awase meaning mixed), which is a mix of aka and shiromiso.

Each type is slightly different than the next in terms of both appearance, smell, texture, and Miso soup - Silver Spoon 02 - 01taste, with different varieties preferred depending on the region of Japan. For this recipe, I doesn’tmatter which one you choose, just remember to taste your soup as you dissolve the miso into the dashi stock, since each type of miso has a different amount of flavour and saltiness. If you’re not too sure about which miso to use, try out awase miso, which is a nice medium between the more robust aka miso and the mild shiro miso.

Soft tofu would be best for this dish since it will simply melt in your mouth as you drink the soup. I do not recommend using firm tofu, since it will feel rather out of place in the smooth miso soup.

Wakame is an edible seaweed that is generally found cut into small pieces and dried, rehydrating on contact with liquid.

Miso Soup

The recipe:

Miso Soup

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups dashi stock (3 cups water mixed with 1 1/2 tsp dashi granules)
  • 2-3 tbsp miso paste
  • 3 oz (1/4 of a block) of soft tofu, cut into 1/2 inch (or smaller) cubes
  • 2 tsp wakame (dried seaweed)
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped

Directions:

1. Bring dashi stock to a low simmer in a medium pot. Mix miso paste into the dashi stock using a mesh strainer or a ladle to ensure the miso is fully dissolved, and tasting the soup between each tablespoon added.

2. Add tofu, wakame, and green onion to the pot. Heat, but do not boil.

Serve with your Japanese meal.

Source: A tiny recipe flier I found tacked to a wall at a Japanese grocery store in Sydney, Australia.

Miso Soup - Sora No Woto 03 - 02

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3 thoughts on “Rounding Out a Japanese Meal with the Always Ubiquious Miso Soup

  1. Pingback: A Hearty Japanese Beef Stew (Nikujaga) Perfect After a Long Day’s Work | Itadakimasu Anime!

  2. Pingback: Warming the Heart and Body with the Deliciously Robust Tonjiru | Itadakimasu Anime!

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