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Traditional Japanese Miso Soup
From: Hazel Barker

Here is the recipe I use for miso soup.
As I understand it, there is no one correct recipe for this soup, you can just add what you like - so I have sometimes added bean sprouts, shittake mushrooms, and/or about 2 tsp of sake to the following.

Don't ignore the warning about the seaweed!
When I first used this recipe, I though 'Oh, I've never tried this seaweed, I think I'll add a little extra - just to make sure I taste it'.
LOL - it is quite strong, but that was not the problem - this stuff expands at an amazing rate.
Ever seen the film 'The Blob' !

If you don`t add the miso carefully, your soup will end up lumpy.
I don't use the method described below, I add the miso to a small bowl, scoop up some of the simmering soup water and stir around the miso until some of it dissolves and the water is opaque, pour it back into the pot, stir it around, and then repeat until all of the miso dissolves.

Serves: 4-8.

  • 1 Qt. water
  • 8 Tbsp miso (more or less to taste)
  • 2 TSP dried cut wakame
  • 1/2 cup chopped daikon (optional - I use mouli - large white radish)
  • 1/2 cup carrots (optional)
  • 1/2 small onion (optional)
  • tofu, chopped into small cubes (optional)
  • chopped green onions
Wakame is a strong seaweed.
It is too strong for some people who have not grown up with it.
Here is a great way to enjoy it.
First a warning about wakame, it expands to many, many times its dry size when re-hydrated.
Be very conservative the first time you use it.
Most health food and Japanese/Asian stores sell it already cut into little 3/4" squares and dried into tiny "crumbles".
This is the best kind to use.
If you buy it in "sheet" form you will have to hydrate it and then cut it into squares which adds time to the recipe.

Bring the water to a slow boil.
Put the wakame in the water and let it slowly simmer for 20 mins.
The longer you simmer it the less sharp its taste will be.
If you are cooking daikon, carrots, or onions, put them in for around the last 10 mins for onions and daikon and about the last 5-6 mins for the carrots.
I slice the daikon into "half moons" fairly thin.
The thicker the cut the longer the daikon takes to cook.
Most Japanese people like their daikon pretty soft in miso soup.

Once the vegetable mixture is cooked, make sure it is cooking at a slow simmer.
Here's a little secret.
Take a small strainer and place it just in the soup.
Take spoonfuls of miso and mash them through the strainer into the soup.
This is way better than plopping miso into the pot and trying to distribute it evenly.
Many people feel that cooking miso destroys the favorable digestive enzymes.
But two people whose opinions I really respect are in favor of cooking the miso into the soup for a short period of time (1 minute).
If you are using tofu, put it in now, you needn't cook it, just get it up to soup temperature.

Garnish with the chopped green onions and serve.

If you want to have miso soup over a few days, put miso only in the portion of the vegetable soup that you wish to eat at that time.
It keeps better without the miso in it.
Traditionally, Japanese people have miso soup more in the morning than the evening so you may want to experiment with having this for breakfast with a little rice and pickled vegetables.