Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
While writing my post on How to Host a Sushi Party, I surfed the blogs for a good 30 minutes looking for a great tutorial on how to make miso soup using instant dashi. Well, I couldn’t find one that I liked, and in that 30 minutes I could have made 30 gallons of miso soup and still photograph/write a tutorial. So thats just what I did. (the photography/writing thing, not the 30 gallons)
First, the ingredients:
I use instant Dashi – kind of like Japan’s version of chicken boullion. If you didn’t have Dashi, you could use diluted chicken stock…but it just wouldn’t taste right. But hey, if you really wanted miso soup and thats all you had, go for it. Just make sure you dilute the chicken stock – 70% water, 30% stock…otherwise your miso soup will end up tasting like chicken soup. Or….instead of chicken stock – try a diluted seafood stock or vegetable stock. Both of those will work much better than chicken.
Alright, back to the dashi. You could also make dashi from kombu and bonito flakes, but this recipe is the 10 minute miso soup, therefore instant dashi works just fine. Instant dashi can also come in a convenient glass jar.
This is dried seaweed. Just a tablespoon of the dried wakame will be enough for a pot of miso soup to feed 4. Soak this in a little water and watch it expand. There are many, many different kinds of seaweed, but this one is made especially for eating in miso soup. Look at the package first. Of course, I can’t read Japanese, but the back of this package shows an illustration of miso soup and little arrows pointing to put the seaweed in the soup and a happy smiling face drinking the soup. Therefore it must mean seaweed fortified with Prozac.
This is the miso paste that I found in the refrigerated section of the Asian market. Many regular supermarkets have miso paste as well. I generally buy organic, but this is all I found last week. I like Shiro Miso the best – its lighter, sweeter, little less salty. The most important thing about making miso soup is that you never boil the miso paste. Only add miso after you’ve turned off the heat. So, if you are using anything that needs a little cooking time, just do that before you add the miso paste.
The reason why you don’t boil the miso – is that it will become gritty if it’s overcooked. All you need to really do to the miso is dissolve it in the just-boiled-soup.
Organic tofu. Cut into little cubes. I’ve tried making my own tofu before. Lots of work for very little tofu. I’d rather buy a block of the organic stuff.
Miso Soup Recipe
Ready in 10 minutes! Remember, you don't want to boil the miso paste -- add it at the end with the heat off to avoid a gritty texture.
Ingredients:8 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons instant dashi granules
1/4 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 meatime, 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. Taste the soup - if it needs more flavor, whisk in another tablespoon or two of miso paste. Top with green onions and serve immediately.