I been sampling a lot of Asian food lately: Japanese, Thai, Korean, and Vietnamese.
Miso Soup ingredients are not commonly found in a typical grocery store. I ventured to an Asian neighborhood and shopped at the Little Saigon Market. I found food items and wares from every Asian country. It was so easy to get distracted with all the offerings and forget about what I was there to shop for.
The basic ingredients are dashi, miso, dried seaweed and tofu.
Dashi is the Japanese word for stock. Japanese dashi is light but packed with unami. It’s made by soaking dried edible kelp (kombu), cured bonito flakes, and sometimes dried sardines or dried shiitake mushrooms in water.
Miso is the elegant Japanese term for fermented soybean paste. It comes in red and white soybean paste.
Dried Seaweed is what it sounds like. The link is about the health benefits of seaweed.
Tofu is one item you can find in most grocery stores. It is soy beans made into a cheese like product. The firm type of tofu is for this soup.
4 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons instant dashi granules
1/2 cup miso paste
1 tablespoon dried seaweed (for miso soup), soaked in water
1/2 cup cubed tofu
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1. Pour the water into a pot and bring to a boil. Add the instant dashi and whisk to dissolve. Turn the heat to medium-low and add the tofu. Drain the seaweed and add the seaweed to the pot. Simmer for 2 minutes.
2. In the meantime, Spoon the miso paste into a bowl. Ladle about 1/2 cup of the hot dashi broth into a bowl and whisk with chopsticks or a whisk to mix and melt the miso paste so that it becomes a smooth mixture.
3. Turn the heat off, add the miso paste to the pot and stir well. Top with green onions, if desired, and serve immediately.
1. Of all the recipes I looked at, Steamy Kitchen’s was the easiest. I didn’t have enough patience to make homemade dashi like Alton.
2. Dashi has an extremely strong fishy flavor. That flavor in combination with the miso, makes a strong flavored soup. One serving was quite enough.
3. I’ve made the soup again but greatly reduced the amount of dashi and countered it with vegetable or chicken broth. Miso Soup purists would probably think it dilutes the flavor. I don’t care.
4. The seaweed tasted okay. When I have replicated the recipe I added spinach once instead of seaweed. It was fine as well.
5. The soup is loaded with protein and health benefits. It has to be good for you.
I had to have some dessert before I left the Little Saigon Market so I purchased homemade Vietnamese banana cake: Banh chuoi nuong and sesame balls. They were both melt in your mouth delicious. I made one fool hearty attempt at making the banana cake. Another day….