How to Make Authentic Miso Soup
The Soup Before it Meets Its Best Friend (The Miso!)
Where I learned my MIso Soup Tricks
Every summer from a wee age I've been going to Japan to live in my grandparent's house. My Baachan (Japanese word for 'grandmother') is extremely diligent when it comes to making miso soup, and she adheres to the following creed: And neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, nor the winds of change, nor a nation challenged, will stay us from the swift [making of miso soup]. Here's the general recipe I use, leaving plenty of room for improvisation!
The Soy Sauce
The Very Important Miso
The Ingredients (Serves 2)
If you need to serve more than two, just double the ingredients (obviously), but for now i'm sticking with a low sized batch in case you hate it (which is pretty much impossible):
#1 2.25 Cups of water (You can add more or less depending on how much broth you like, or if it ends up being too salty)
#2 1 Teaspoon of Dashi (Picture to the right of the weird fish flakes. You can alternatively use Niboshi, which are dried fish. If you do, I'd recommend putting in 1 or 2 at the most.)
#3 1 - 1.5 Teaspoon(s) of Soy Sauce (I recommend the good ol' classic Kikkoman)
#4 Optional Splash of Sake (No more than 2 teaspoons)
#5 2 Semi-heaping Tablespoons of Miso (You can obviously adjust this based on taste)
#6 Whatever Else you Want to Put in the Soup, but Here are my Recommendations:
Wakame (A seaweed)
Hakusai (Bok choy or Chinese cabbage)
A Raw Egg (Just drop it in when you put in the rest of the ingredients)
Matchstick Sliced Carrots
Matchstick Sliced Potatoes
etc. (Let's keep it basic)
Now on to the actual cooking of it
The Tofu and the Onions
Don't Forget Your Standard (and cheap) Sake!
Dissolving the Miso
Step 1: Put in the water, the dashi, the sake, and the soy sauce (Ingredients 1-4) and heat on medium-low until it's warm.
Step 2: Add everything else besides the miso and simply cook until your potatoes/carrots get cooked through. I'd highly recommend adding the potatoes/carrots first, then the onions/wakame/hakusai, and finally the tofu!
Step 3 (The Most Important Step): After everything is cooked to your liking (Should only take about 5-8 minutes or so if you cut the potatoes and carrots thin enough) turn off the heat. Here is where you add the Miso, and be absolutely certain that the water is not near boiling temperature when you add it. Put the Miso on a ladle and dunk it into the soup. Then, using a cooking spoon, slowly dissolve the Miso into the soup by swishing around the ladle and stirring with the spoon. It doesn't have to be perfect, but try to get most of it dissolved.
Step 4 (The 'Real' Most Important Step): If your Miso dissolving didn't go too well and your soup has gotten cold, reheat it (but don't let it boil) and enjoy!
The Finished Product!
What you've hopefully just made is a delicious and undeniably traditional Japanese dish, that's healthy to boot! This recipe for miso soup is more or less identical to what you'll eat in your average Japanese family's home, and very unlike the weird watery stuff you get at American Japanese restaurants. My last note is this: It's perfectly OK to get addicted to Miso Soup.