There was a time when, having recently discovered the availability of dashi, miso paste and wakame in local groceries, we’d have miso soup almost everyday. We were so happy that we no longer had to go to some expensive Japanese restaurant to enjoy good miso soup that we were practically gorging on it. Sam and Alex had become so adept at preparing it that they no longer needed me to supervise.
Then, after a while, we realized you can have too much of a good thing. We were having miso soup too often it came to a point when we felt satiated then bored and, finally, miso soup became an occasional dish in the house. In fact, it became an emergency soup of sorts. No soup for the day? Let’s have miso soup. You get the picture. So, I started deviating from the basic miso soup recipe and, over time, came up with six great ways to make miso soup by adding an assortment of ingredients like seafood, wontons, meat and vegetables. Together with the basic miso soup, I now have seven miso soup recipe variations.
- 2 bangus (milkfish) belly fillets, cut into one-inch squares (about 2 c. after cutting)
- 1 tbsp. of fish sauce plus more, as needed
- 1 block of silken tofu, about 300 g., cut into ¾-inch cubes
- 1 packet of powdered dashi
- 1 heaping tbsp. of miso paste
- a bunch of malunggay (moringa), as much or as little as you like, leaves stripped and stems discarded (see how)
- In a pot, boil six cups of water with 1 tbsp. of fish sauce.
- Drop the fish squares, stir and allow the water to boil once more. Lower the heat, cover the pot and let the fish simmer for five minutes. That’s all the time they need to cook. Seriously.
- Turn up the heat and add the tofu cubes to the pot. When the liquid boils once more, count 30 seconds, add the malunggay leaves, pressing them lightly into the liquid. Cook for a minute then turn off the heat.
- Empty the contents of the packet of dashi into the pot. Stir.
- Take a few tablespoonfuls of the hot broth, pour into a small bowl and stir the miso paste in it to make the paste thinner and pourable.
- Stir the miso paste into the broth. Taste, add more fish sauce if needed.
- Serve the soup hot.
- P.S. If you’re wondering why three bowls are green and one is pink, that’s because Sam set the table for lunch today. She has to have the pink bowl.