Deceptively simple, the key to making good miso soup is to have all the right ingredients including dashi, wakame and miso paste.
There was a time many years ago when we were so into miso soup that we were making it almost every day. Sam and Alex learned to make it without following any recipe. In the beginning, we considered it an indulgence more than anything else. Then, it became comfort food. But to treat miso soup as invalid food? Never. At least, not until last night.
Whether or not the Equinox raised the atmospheric temperature to incredible levels, it remains a fact that the combination of heat and humidity has led to many cases of stomach flu. Children and adults alike. Unfortunately, Alex, Speedy and I were among the adults that got hit. Not Sam. She’s Supergirl. Heat and humidity are not her kryptonite.
It was Alex who got hit first. She was down for two days. Then, it was Speedy’s turn. When they were both back to normal and eating regular food, I got hit.
It started last Sunday. Alex was at her cooking class, Speedy was on a medical mission sponsored by his batch in college, and I was at home with Sam. I was preparing spanakopita for our lunch when I started feeling strange. By the time Speedy and Alex got home, my normal appetite had flown. Too bad, really, because Speedy bought a lot of Chinese food for dinner. Roast duck, har gow and mini-siopao. I ate a piece of har gow, my share of the roast duck and a little rice.
The following day, I had a hard time getting out of bed and slept most of the afternoon and early evening. I ate one mini-siopao at midday and another in the afternoon. At around 8.00 p.m., Speedy woke me up to take my temperature. No fever. What did I want to eat? Nothing. They kept asking. Of course, I knew I had to eat something so I thought hard and finally said, “Miso soup.”
I’ve adored miso soup for a long time but no miso soup tasted better than what Alex prepared last night. Today, as I write this post, I am feeling much better. Another 24 hours and my digestive system should be back to normal.
This is how we make our basic miso soup. But, before the recipe, a few notes…
Since the water is not allowed to reach boiling point, if you have sanitation problems with your tap water, I suggest you used filtered water.
You can find miso paste and dashi granules in Asian groceries or Asian section of supermarkets. You can also make your own dashi by if you have bonito flakes and the edible kelp that the Japanese call kombu.
I always thought that silken tofu was used for making miso soup. And I did use silken tofu with my first attempts. Then, I discovered Japanese momen tofu. The texture and flavor are different.
Dried wakame is, like dashi granules, is also sold in Asian groceries. It is not the same as kombu.
In the video below, my daughter, Sam, makes her version of miso soup. The procedure is a bit different but the result is just as gorgeous.
Japanese Miso Soup
Heat six cups of water in a pot. When it reaches simmering point, set the stove to the lowest setting so that the water stays barely simmering.
Ladle about a quarter cup of the hot water into a bowl. Stir in the miso paste until smooth.
Stir the dashi granules in the hot water in the pot until dissolved.
Add the tofu to the broth.
Pour in the diluted miso paste into the broth. Stir.
Cut the softened wakame into small pieces. Stir into the soup.
Serve the miso soup garnished with sliced scallions.
This recipe was originally published on March, 2008.
For miso soup variations, see:
1. Miso soup with fish fillets and malunggay
2. Sesame miso soup
3. Miso soup with fresh clams
4. Miso ramen
5. Salmon head soup with tamarind paste and miso
6. Miso soup with shrimp wonton and shiitake mushrooms
7. Miso, chayote and spinach soup