Updated date:

How to Make Authentic Miso Soup

Author:

My baachan (a Japanese word for grandmother) is extremely diligent when it comes to making miso soup, and here is what I learned from her.

This is the soup before it meets its soul mate, the miso. (Don't worry, they get together in the end!)

This is the soup before it meets its soul mate, the miso. (Don't worry, they get together in the end!)

Where I Learned My Miso Soup Tricks

Every summer, from a wee age, I have gone to Japan to live in my grandparent's house. My baachan (the Japanese word for grandmother) is extremely diligent when it comes to making miso soup, and she adheres to the following creed:

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 recipe I use, and it leaves plenty of room for improvisation!

Pretty obvious what this is. Probably shouldn't have even put up the picture.

Pretty obvious what this is. Probably shouldn't have even put up the picture.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

If you need to serve more than two, just double the ingredients (obviously), but for now i'm sticking with a small-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. (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 teaspoons 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 to your taste)

Additional Options:

  • Tofu
  • Onions
  • 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

The Tofu and the Onions

This makes for a very basic miso soup, but is still very tasty

This makes for a very basic miso soup, but is still very tasty

Don't Forget Your Standard (and Cheap) Sake!

Really any type of sake will work, as long as it's clear (there are some weird milky looking ones).

Really any type of sake will work, as long as it's clear (there are some weird milky looking ones).

Instructions

Step 1: Put the water, dashi, sake, and soy sauce (ingredients 1-4) into a saucepan and cook on medium-low until it's warm.

Step 2: Add everything else besides the miso and simmer until your potatoes and carrots get tender.

Step 3: Add the onions, wakame, hakusai, and tofu (in that order).

Step 4 (the Most Important): After everything is cooked to your liking (which should only take about 5-8 minutes if you cut the potatoes and carrots thin enough), turn off the heat and add the miso. Be absolutely certain that the water is not near boiling temperature when you add it in. Put the miso on a ladle and dunk it into the soup. Then take a spoon and slowly dissolve the miso by swishing with the ladle and stirring with the spoon. It doesn't have to be perfect, but try to get most of it dissolved.

Dissolving the Miso

You can see the miso in the ladle being dissolved slowly and delectably.

You can see the miso in the ladle being dissolved slowly and delectably.

Summary

What you've hopefully just made is a delicious and undeniably traditional Japanese dish that's healthy, to boot! This recipe 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 okay to get addicted to miso soup.

The Finished Product!

It looked and smelled a lot better than my camera gives it credit for.

It looked and smelled a lot better than my camera gives it credit for.

Comments

cheap essay writing service on February 16, 2012:

I love Miso soup and am so glad and thankful shared the recipe., interesting, and so awsumm useful, and awesome!

ryokowaren from USA on September 17, 2011:

Mmmmm, I love Miso soup. :-)

Susan Ng Yu on September 11, 2011:

Oh, I see. Yes, the girl was doing something to some fish, then she fell asleep and a cat carried the fish away. Hehe. Thanks, Akbok. :)

Akbok (author) from Aomori prefecture, Japan on September 11, 2011:

Susan Ng: Well to make it like a true master it takes years of tinkering, but this is a pretty good foundation. The method you saw is probably the style that uses the actual whole dried fish, as my baachan also uses those. She lets them soak for the entire night to draw out the flavor. It's cool and all, but then you have to deal with weird fish parts floating around in your soup.

Susan Ng Yu on September 10, 2011:

Is it really this easy to make miso soup, Akbok? :O I love miso soup but have always thought that it was painstaking to make. Like in "Himono Onna", this JDorama I watched... if I remember correctly, the girl started making the miso soup late at night to get it ready for breakfast. :O

Akbok (author) from Aomori prefecture, Japan on September 10, 2011:

FeathersofArtemis: Yeah, the instant stuff is OK, but once you have the authentic soup things can never be the same. I too prefer using the fish flakes over the whole fish with their guilt imparting eyes and heads on them.

MzPolished1: Thank you and I hope it turns out tasty!

Joriechew: I think my first use of the word 'love' was directed towards misoshiru when I was growing up as a babe in Japan. Thanks and cheers!

joriechew on September 08, 2011:

I love misoshiru. Enjoyed you sense of humor. Cooking is fun. Cheer.

MzPolished1 from California on September 07, 2011:

I like this recipe! I will definitely try it! :)

FeathersOfArtemis on September 07, 2011:

I am totally going to try this! I miss REAL miso soup...not that instant crud they call miso soup. haha. Have to say though, I think I am going to leave the little fishies out of mine. :-P

Akbok (author) from Aomori prefecture, Japan on September 07, 2011:

Venzkhvam: Thanks for the spiritual comment!

Feelhungry: Yeah, simple and tasty can't be beat. Also, not to make a point moot, but I love this soup because of its variations. There's nothing like visiting a friend's house and seeing what their family's miso soup is all about.

Sholland10: Appreciate the comment! And quite frankly it's almost impossible not to love miso soup :)

Businesstime: Thank you for reading my humble little hub.

Sarah Kolb-Williams from Twin Cities on September 06, 2011:

Love this -- I'm excited to try it out! Thanks!

Susan Holland from Southwest Missouri on September 05, 2011:

I love Miso soup and am so glad you shared the recipe. Voted up, interesting, useful, and awesome!

feelhungry on September 05, 2011:

This is a really simple and good Miso Soup recipe. I have cooked an almost similar variation as well. :-) Thumb up and Useful. :-)

VENZKHVAM from Milk way galaxy, trying to find a more adventurous place in another galaxy with my great followers on September 03, 2011:

soups are really a treat for a healthy human body and existence. I still remember those tasty different soups i used to drank after a two hours exercise in the park and while coming out.

in the pretext your miso soup seems to be reverberating in ears to attempt it urgently i will try out good.

Akbok (author) from Aomori prefecture, Japan on September 03, 2011:

Lavender3957: I couldn`t be happier. Something that tastes so good and is healthy to boot should have its consumption required by law!

Carcro: Thanks for stopping by.

Serenityh: Well it was quite easy for me since I`m currently living in Japan, but when I`m in the states I find everything I need at my local Asian market. If you don`t have one of those then I wish you the best of luck in what would be a difficult but very rewarding quest!

Kmattox: Yeah, although I recommended Konbu dashi as a vegetarian substitute I did find mushroom dashi being used when I did a quick search. I`ve never had it (fish dashi is just too darn popular), but miso soup is so good it`s practically impossible to mess up. Thanks a bunch!

Akbok (author) from Aomori prefecture, Japan on September 03, 2011:

Jagodka: When people say Dashi they are more often than not referring to a fish based product, so unless you`re a pescatarian then it`s probably off limits. There is Miso shiru out there that uses Konbu (a type of seaweed) dashi that is vegetarian, though I don`t have a reliable recipe for that.

RuthCurley: Thanks for the comment and I`m glad that you`ve already found the blessing that is Miso shiru in your life. The variety and tinkering that miso soup allows makes it perfect for the culinary mad scientist, so it`s good that you posted a lot of variations on the soup to prove this point.

foxtrinity: Thanks!

saddlerider1: I`m always glad to see another faithful acolyte of miso soup. Thanks for the comment and thank you even more for backing up one of my favorite soups.

Cheerfulnuts: It really is surprisingly easy, with the hardest part being getting the right ingredients (especially if you aren`t in Japan). The key is to not give up if you don`t like your first batch, because miso soup really is capable of many tastes and alterations.

Akbok (author) from Aomori prefecture, Japan on September 03, 2011:

Sunshine625: Thanks a bunch, and I can stand by and guarantee those claims!

stampinwithfab: Yeah the miso soup mixes that are in anyway pre-made never really seem to hit the spot for me. Tako yaki is delicious, and I commend your bravery in buying a maker. Unfortunately I`ve never made it, so I don`t have any recipes with repute that I can recommend.

J.S.Matthew: Thank you!

happypuppy: Yeah if she can actually get around to making the soup I can guarantee she`ll like it more than the instant kind. It might even bring her to tears :D.

Cardisa: This may be a biased opinion but I too prefer Japanese cuisine! Miso in a nutshell is soybeans that are steamed, salted, yeasted, and then left to ferment until it becomes a paste that has a chunky peanut butter like consistency. There`s plenty of different kinds though, but what I described is probably the most commonly used.

Akbok (author) from Aomori prefecture, Japan on September 03, 2011:

PamelaNRed: Miso soup deserves to be loved so I`m glad. The sake is completely optional, but I find that adding sake to things is never a bad idea :).

applecsmith: Thanks for reading!

Bluebird: By all means try it, and I completely relate to your partiality towards homemade foods.

Seafarer Mama: Thanks for the amazing comment! Quite frankly I`m honored, and thank you for reading.

Christin S: Thanks! I wish I had more pictures of completed miso soups that showcase some of the variety of ingredients that can go in the soup. Hope you like it and good luck in finding the possibly elusive ingredients.

anglnwu: I hope the Asian market has all of the stuff necessary to make the soup or I`ll have made a Hub in vain. Thanks for reading!

Policommandments: I`ve never had the vegetarian version, but I do know that some people use Konbu dashi instead of fish dashi. Konbu is just a type of seaweed, so that should be 100% vegetarian friendly. You can buy it in bottles already made, or you can look for a recipe online and try to make it yourself from the seaweed leaves. Sorry I don`t have more info about it for you:

KMattox from USA on September 02, 2011:

Sounds like a great Miso. Thank you for sharing. Instead of te fish flakes I'll use dried msuhrooms. :) I voted up and useful

serenityh from Morgantown, WV on September 02, 2011:

Great hub! Where did you get your ingredients for the miso soup?

Paul Cronin from Winnipeg on September 02, 2011:

This looks great, definitely something to try, Thanks for sharing!

lavender3957 on September 02, 2011:

I just made this for my family and they loved it. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to more hubs.

cheerfulnuts from Manila, Philippines on September 02, 2011:

Wow, you made this look easy! I should try this after I have bought all the ingredients. Thanks for sharing your recipe, Akbok! I hope I can do this right.:)

saddlerider1 on September 02, 2011:

Miso is one of the tastest, healthiest soups one can make. I usually make it when I have a cold or upset stomach, fills the bill everytime. I love Miso done the authentic way, absolutely delicious.

foxtrinity from PA on September 02, 2011:

This looks really good.

Ruthcurley from Bozrah, CT on September 02, 2011:

I agree, makes me want to go make some Misoshiru right away! Though i also never put soy sauce or saki in mine. I love it with the little clams in the shell or wakame too. Red miso is good with the stronger seafood flavors. Natsukashi! Thanks for the great HUB.

Jagodka on September 02, 2011:

If you use Dashi then does that mean the dish is vegetarian? It sounds delicious and the article is so well-written!

Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on September 02, 2011:

I am familiar with cooking Chinese cuisine but not Japanese yet I prefer Japanese (don't tell that to my former boss Swee Chua). Tell me, what is miso?

happypuppy on September 02, 2011:

Great recipe! I will pass this on to my sister. She would love to try out this recipe (she normally buys the miso package to make miso soup). Thanks for sharing and congrats on the win!

JS Matthew from Massachusetts, USA on September 02, 2011:

Congratulations on being selected for the Hub of the Day!

Great photos accompany this great recipe! Awesome job-voting up and sharing!

JSMatthew~

Fabrizio Martellucci from London, United Kingdom on September 02, 2011:

Thank you I always bought the all in one sachet variety but always felt something was missing. I also bought the pan to make Yako Taki (octopus in batter balls) but need a good recipe for that.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on September 02, 2011:

Congrats on your Hub Of The Day! Looks and smells and I bet it tastes yummy also! :))

PoliCommandments from DeKalb, IL on September 02, 2011:

This sounds exciting to try. Do you know of any vegetarian substitutes that could stand in for the fish flakes? This looks like quite a dish.

anglnwu on September 02, 2011:

I love miso soup and often make it but this looks like the authentic way to do it. I'm going to try to follow your recipe. Now, to the Asian market to get some dashi. Congrats!

Christin Sander from Midwest on September 02, 2011:

beautifully written and illustrated hub - I want to run right out and try this. Congrats on hub of the day! now I'm hungry :) and am definitely bookmarking to return and try this when I can go get the ingredients.

Karen A Szklany from New England on September 02, 2011:

Yum. I'd like to try this. I'm bookmarking it.

Loved your light, almost humorous tone throughout this very informative hub. Your attention to detail about where to find all of the ingredients gives your readers confidence in trying to make this soup ourselves. Can't wait to taste it homemade!

bluebird on September 02, 2011:

Congrats! Will make this some time, for sure. I like Miso soup anyway, but homemade will definitely be better. Thanks!

Carrie Smith from Dallas, Texas on September 02, 2011:

Congratulations on being the Hub of the Day. This recipe looks easy and delicious, the pictures are great too. Thanks for sharing. Voted up!

Pamela N Red from Oklahoma on September 02, 2011:

I love miso soup and make it sometimes. I haven't tried putting sake in mine, that might add something new.

Akbok (author) from Aomori prefecture, Japan on September 02, 2011:

Maria: Yeah Koreans have their own kind of miso soup that I actually have yet to try! Thanks for reading.

Thelma Alberts: Miso soup is very healthy and I completely give it 99% of the credit for why Japanese people live so long! Hope the recipe yields good results.

Movie Master: Please do try it. The taste is relatively mild and doesn't have any overly prevalent tastes so I'm sure you'll like it!

Peter Lumetta: Yeah, Miso soup has the odd quality of being hearty but light at the same time. Totally drinkable in both winter AND summer because of this.

Rembrandz: Thanks a bunch! Seaweed is indeed very tasty, but I feel like a lot of people are turned off by it :

moonlake from America on September 02, 2011:

Soup sounds good. Congratulations on the Hub of the Day.

RTalloni on September 02, 2011:

Congratulations on your Hub of the Day award, and thanks much for sharing your Baachan's recipe with us! I'm looking forward to trying it one day.

Remy Francis from Dubai on September 02, 2011:

Hey Akbok

Thank s so much for sharing one of the healthiest dishes in the world. I am a fan of Seaweed for its health benefits. I am sure to add Miso soup to my daily diet from now on.

And ...The Cooking Step 3 was a killer tip! which I never knew. That is a tip I can use from now on for many other of my dishes.

Congrats on your Hub of the day win too! Much deserving hub!

PETER LUMETTA from KENAI, ALAKSA on September 02, 2011:

Sounds like a good hearty soup, this I like,

Peter

Movie Master from United Kingdom on September 02, 2011:

Congratulations on Hub of the Day, I have heard of this soup but had no idea had to make it, I will certainly try it, many thanks for sharing.

Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on September 02, 2011:

Congratulation on the hub of the day. I have heard that miso soup is healthy, so I´ll try this. Thanks for sharing.

Maria Cecilia from Philippines on September 02, 2011:

O this is my favorite, often see something like this in Korean Drama, great one, I will surely try this

Akbok (author) from Aomori prefecture, Japan on August 29, 2011:

Mtkomori: That's interesting! I wonder if it would taste like something you're familiar with though. And yeah, if you just added the ingredients for ton jiru and maybe some mirin I think it would basically be ton jiru. I imagine that some of the ingredients on here would be hard to get, so ganbatte (^-^). Thanks for the comment and your variations on such a basic but delicious soup!

Simone: Yeah, the basic process of making the soup is easy, but I think you have to be a 60+ year old grandmother to really master the subtleties required to make it irresistibly delicious. Hope you're able to find the ingredients and thanks for the comment!

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on August 29, 2011:

Oh my goodness, I can practically smell it! I've never made miso soup before- I didn't realize it was so easy! Now I've just GOT to get the ingredients and give this a try. I even know exactly what to look for thanks to your photos!

Takako Komori from Yokohama, Japan on August 29, 2011:

Nice to be the first to comment!:)

This version of miso soup is one I'm not familiar with. It sounds almost like "ton jiru"(miso soup with thin sliced pork) without the pork. I put katsuo bushi instead of niboshi,(though my mother always used niboshi, main reason is that it's hard to get niboshi here in Waterloo) and don't add sake or soy sauce, just plain miso. At any rate, your version appears to be delicious. Thanks for sharing!