simple and nourishing miso soup

Who can live on cookies alone?  In between batches of crackles and ginger snaps I made a big pot of Miso Soup.  My daughter requested it and we all agreed it’s the perfect post-Thanksgiving food.  One bowl has the power to redeem you and your guilty conscience from all those extra helpings of pecan pie.

Miso Soup

Miso soup was one of the first things I cooked for myself when I was in college.  It’s a staple in Japan, and you’ve probably had it in Japanese restaurants.  The soup is basically a thin miso infused broth, and when you get it in restaurants it usually has very little in it, maybe a slice or two of scallion floating around.  But it can also made heartier with tofu, mushrooms, seaweed, green onions, and potatoes, among other things.

Miso is a Japanese fermented paste, usually made from rice, barley and or soybeans.  Most stores stock it, look for it in the Asian or international section of your market.  I found mine, a locally made organic miso, in the refrigerated section.  Miso is a biologically active, living food, like yogurt.  Cooking destroys some of its beneficial bacteria and can change the flavor.  When you make Miso soup the paste is added at the end, once the pot is taken off the heat.
This is basically a healthy and nourishing instant soup.  It’s perfect for when you have a cold or flu, and so much quicker and easier to make than chicken soup.  In Japan it’s believed to have powerful health giving properties, (including fighting the Big C.)

Making miso soup gives you the perfect excuse to experiment with some of the exotic, loose mushroom varieties you always pass by when you’re doing your grocery shopping.  Their delicate flavor will take center stage in such a simple dish, and you don’t need to buy many, so the cost won’t be prohibitive.  I bought baby button Shitake and a variety called Beech Mushrooms, which was new to me.  The tiny little brown or white mushrooms come clustered on one large stem or stalk.

Miso Soup

Yield: serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 quart vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons Miso paste
  • 1/3 of a 14 oz block of firm tofu, cut in small cubes
  • 2 cups assorted mushrooms, sliced or left whole if very small
  • 4 or 5 scallions, sliced thin (use all of the white and a little of the green)

Instructions

  1. Heat the stock and water to a simmer and add the mushrooms and tofu. Simmer for a few minutes to cook the mushrooms. When you're ready to serve, add the scallions and take off the heat. In a small bowl, whisk the miso with 1/4 cup of the hot broth to form a paste. Stir it back into the broth, and serve.
http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/miso-soup/

We like it with lots of steaming hot edamame (soy) beans showered in sea salt.

Note:  If you get really into it and you want to have this every day for a week, just make the broth ahead and stir in the miso paste fresh with each meal.

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26 Responses to Miso Soup

  1. DanCandell says:

    This recipe is in the clean eating section. I have read much on tofu and how soy products are very bad for people. I’m wondering if you can make this soup without tofu and if it will still be good; or possibly a suitable asubstitute?

    • Sue says:

      You can definitely make it without tofu, I’ve had it with just mushrooms, or just green onions many times.

  2. Marcy Schwartz says:

    This was the first time I’ve made miso soup. Very easy and the best miso soup I’ve ever had. I added a little bit of crispy onions when I served it (similar to what happens at Japanese Hibachi restaurants). I can’t wait to make it again.

  3. Guinness says:

    You state that if you want to eat for a week to make the broth then add the miso paste with each bowl.
    How much paste do you add – and is it mixed with the broth before.
    Thanks

    • Sue says:

      You can heat up your broth, and then stir in the miso, to taste. It might be a couple of teaspoons for a 8 oz, give or take.

  4. […]  Miso soup by The View From Great Island. A Japanese classic that’s healthy and delicious, packed with […]

  5. Ginger says:

    I second that comment on the Dashi. Miso, IMO, really makes it!

  6. to2sassy says:

    This looks really yummy! Have you ever tried making your miso soup with Dashi instead of broth. It really takes it over the top. My local Asian grocery store sells crystals (sort of like bullion) to make it.

  7. I had to come over because while having lunch and browsing Foodgawker, your photo leaped off the screen. That soup is so beautiful! I also love miso soup.

  8. Magnolia Verandah says:

    I feel nourished just reading the recipe.

  9. Mary says:

    What a lovely way to ease the burden on the palate. This sounds like a perfect light repast and I’d love to join you in a bowl. Have a wonderful holiday. Blessings…Mary

  10. Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti says:

    What a nice recipe! I always order Miso soup when I go out to a Japanese restaurant, but I never thought I’d be able to make it myself. Now I’ll be on the hunt for Miso paste!

    I became a follower. I love WIlliams Sonoma and check out their sale section on their web site all the time.

  11. Stephanie says:

    Looks wonderful! I’ve been thinking about creating a miso soup version for a while now. Thanks for sharing. Beautiful mushrooms.

  12. Miss Meshow says:

    So beautiful! I love those little white mushrooms, especially the ones in the last photo that are stuck together. Already have plans for tomorrow’s supper, but I think I’ll plan on it for the day after. I love soup!

  13. Quay Po Cooks says:

    I love miso soup. This reminded me that I have not had a bowl for sometime:D Great photos!

  14. Three-Cookies says:

    Those mushrooms look really nice, I haven’t seen that variety

  15. Yummy Mummy says:

    How beautiful with those tiny mushrooms! Love this!

  16. I would LOVE a bowl of this right now. I still have a residual runny nose from last week’s cold.

  17. This soup looks so warm and comforting! I could use that right now after having had way too much dessert this week. My jeans are feeling pretty snug right now! :(

  18. Lizzy says:

    Oh, I need to buy some miso! This soup looks amazing…and it would be great to whip this up on a cold day. Your mushrooms are beautiful, too…so unblemished. Great post~

  19. Barbara says:

    I’ve had it, but never made it. Your photos are marvelous, Sue. Copying the recipe now…

  20. I love miso soup. Earthy, comforting, satisfaction in a bowl. Yours looks beautiful…wish I had a bowl. Okay, I have a bowl, but I wish I had some of your steaming soup filling it!

  21. Susan—I’m not sure I’ve ever had (or ordered) Hot and Sour soup, I’ll be waiting for your post!

  22. It looks so light and delicious. The mushrooms are so white and beautiful. I have had Miso soup and liked it a lot, but Hot and Sour is my favorite. I think I might do a post on it. Thanks for the inspiration.

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