Jan 18
2010

Miso Soup Week

in Uncategorized

As promised the rest of this week will be dedicated to exploring the topic of miso soup!

Do you use those packets of instant miso soup?

Istant Miso Soup Packets

How about dashi granules to make your stock for miso soup?

Dashi Granules

Or do you think it’s altogether too difficult to make it yourself and you get your miso soup at a Japanese restaurant?  It is TIME TO REFORM!  This week I’ll be demystifying miso soup by talking about all of the ingredients needed to make miso soup from scratch (FOUR if you include water), HOW to make it, and different ideas of what to put in it!

Miso soup, or miso-shiru, is one of the mainstays of Japanese cuisine.  Miso soup is made up of two primary components: a stock called dashi and miso paste.  It is commonly served for breakfast, as well as lunch and dinner in Japan.  When you order miso soup at a restaurant here in the US, you usually are ordering a bowl of miso soup with chunks of tofu, some wakame seaweed, and a sprinkling of sliced scallions in it.  What many people may not realize is that there are hundreds of variations on miso soup.  These variations come from regional and seasonal components.  Each region of Japan has its own type of miso (fermented soybean paste) as a result of its particular climate and eating customs.  For example, hatchomiso is a sweet soybean miso that is particular to Aichi Prefecture.  Another variable that changes in a bowl of miso soup is what is “floating” in the broth.  Many miso soups reflect the changing of the seasons by utilizing produce that is in season.

Nutritional Benefits of Miso Soup

Although miso paste is high in sodium, a little bit goes a long way.  High sodium content may be miso paste’s only downside.  It is an excellent source of protein, dietary fiber, manganese, zinc, phosphorus, and copper.  The minerals present in miso soup are said to help boost the immune system, your energy level, and your bone and blood vessel health.

Everyone should add miso soup to their repertoire.  Not only is it good for you, it is filling and delicious.  It’s also a wonderful treat when you are feeling under the weather.

Coming Next: How To Make Dashi (no instant dashi granules included)!

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }



Kelly @ EvilShenanigans.com January 19, 2010 at 9:54 am

The variations are endless. I love the miso soup at the sushi place by my husbands office, but the miso soup at the sushi place by my office is bland. I bought miso paste for some miso glazed salmon last year and I need a good soup recipe. Can’t wait to read the rest of this weeks posts!

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ravenouscouple January 19, 2010 at 9:56 am

you’re right–it’s so easy to make the dashi once you make it, you’ll realize why didn’t you do this before!

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Nicole January 19, 2010 at 10:01 am

Yum! I’ve been on a huge miso soup kick lately, but I love just the plain broth — no tofu or scallions necessary. I’ll be interested to read the rest of the posts this week and see what other variations I can try. Thanks so much!

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The Cooking Ninja January 19, 2010 at 10:05 am

I miss miso soup. My Japanese friend used to make this for me. Wish I had learn it from her before she went back to Japan.

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Sarah, Maison Cupcake January 19, 2010 at 10:16 am

I love miso soup. It’s fairly new in the UK outside of London. My favourite is the one they give you in Yo! Sushi which is light in colour and has tofu cubes and wakame in it. Unlimited bowls of it – which I suppose is quite common in the States but a revelation in the stingy UK!!!

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Debi (Table Talk) January 19, 2010 at 10:52 am

Ahh, miso..and miso soup? Yes please! Especially when I have a cold. A nice big bowl of miso soup and some sushi with extra wasabi always makes me feel better.
Looking forward to reading this week!

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LollyChops January 19, 2010 at 11:05 am

How neat! I have only ever had the tofu/seaweed kind. This should be pretty fascinating!

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Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite January 19, 2010 at 11:26 am

I love Miso! This is great info Rachael, I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

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Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction January 19, 2010 at 12:33 pm

I have to laugh because this post immediately reminded me of a certain product demo in NYC a few months ago (not mentioning any names) and the not-so authentic miso soup that was served.

I’m so excited to learn all about miso soup… I haven’t made it myself before. I typically shy away from Asian food in general because I’m not too familiar with it. Can’t wait for your tutorials… I think some miso soup is definitely in my future!

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Elsie January 19, 2010 at 3:34 pm

What is the difference between miso “light” and miso labeled “white”? I don’t know much about miso so I’m anxious to read the upcoming blogs. I have been trying to find “White” miso as I have a recipe that calls for it but can only find “light” and soybean paste. If you can write a few words further clarifying them and their uses, I for one, would be most appreciative!

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Juls @ Juls' Kitchen January 20, 2010 at 1:37 am

I love it, I love it, I LOVE IT!
I’ve just bought a miso paste and I’m wondering how to make the ultimate miso soup.. can’t wait to learn more about dashi!

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Gaelle@whatareyoufeedingyourkidsthesedays.com January 20, 2010 at 7:23 am

I am very interested in learning how to make Miso soup. I personally love it, despite their high-sodium content…. but only tasted Miso served in US restaurants. Somehow, Japanese must know how to balance their diet with other low-sodium food, no?

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Diana@Spain in Iowa January 20, 2010 at 8:26 am

Rachael,

I love this! I’m so following you on this tour of learning how to make miso soup by scratch!

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Fuji Mama (Rachael) January 20, 2010 at 10:48 am

Thanks Diana!

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Jen @ Tiny Urban Kitchen January 20, 2010 at 9:59 am

Agreed! I just recently bought my first hunk of kombu and made dashi for the first time. Couldn’t believe how easy it was . . . that reminds me, I totally forgot to post about it. Oh well, some day. :) Looking forward to this series!

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Fuji Mama (Rachael) January 20, 2010 at 10:48 am

Jen– Yay! Glad to hear you “took the plunge”! :)

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Fuji Mama (Rachael) January 21, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Elsie– Thank you so much for such a great question. I made sure to do my best in answering in my most recent post: https://www.lafujimama.com/2010/01/how-to-make-basic-tofu-wakame-miso-soup/

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Fuji Mama (Rachael) January 21, 2010 at 11:56 pm

Gaelle, such a great question! Interestingly enough, miso isn’t as bad as many people think! If we speak in generalities, the sodium content in 1 tablespoon of miso is less than the sodium content in 1/2 teaspoon of salt. That’s not to say that that isn’t a lot of sodium, because it is. Several ingredients that are widely used in Japanese cuisine–miso and soy sauce especially, are high in sodium. However, the Japanese eat much smaller portions than the typical American and eat much slower. The Japanese also eat about five times the amount of cruciferous vegetables than Americans do. Meat tends to be viewed as more of a garnish than the main event at a meal, being very sparingly used, and traditional diets still focus on plant-based proteins (especially tofu). So although the higher sodium content of some ingredients is definitely a negative, it tends to be outweighed by the other factors that contribute to their lifestyle.

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Dusty February 16, 2011 at 12:06 am

I love the white Miso, and if I need or want a very fast Miso soup/meal I mix about 1-2 Tbsp Miso paste with about 1/2 cup hot water in a bowl, then add about 1 to 1.5 cups of just off the boil water, maybe with a bit of instant soup base, and add a couple spoons of semolina Couscous. The couscous cooks in about 3-5 min just sitting in the bowl of hot miso. It’s good as is, or we may add things like a bit of soy sauce, cracked sesame seeds, wakame, a shake of furikake…

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