Advanced Miso Soup Recipe

miso soupMiso Soup is a traditional part of Japanese cuisine. It is often served as a side for meals, be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  I’ve done another, more simple version of this dish before.  If you want a simple miso soup, check it out.  The thing that makes this recipe different, and so much better, is that I make the dashi (broth) from scratch rather than from a packet of hon dashi.  Doing everything yourself will elevate a great bowl of soup to something really special.

Ingredients

  • 10 cups water
  • 8″ Combu (a type of dried seaweed)
  • Bonito flakes (use suggested amount on package, about 45g)
  • 8 tbsp Miso
  • Optional – Vegetables, tofu, meat, garlic, pepper

*Note- these ratios will make about 4-5 large servings.  You can divide as desired.

Directions

Start a large pot of water boiling, about 10 cups.  Add two sections of combu, usually about 4″ in length each.  While the combu boils complete the rest of your mise en place.  What you put in your miso soup is up to you.  It can be nothing but miso, or full of hearty vegetables.  My favorite additions are onion, carrots, and daikon.

Once the color of your water starts to turn a little green, remove the combu from the water.  You want to do this before the combu begins to break apart.   Next you’ll add your bonito flakes.  These are essentially shavings of smoked fish.  There are many kinds but you may be limited to only one type.  If you can’t find bonito, you can use fish and fish bones to flavor the soup as you would with any stock.

Remove the fish flakes after about 10 seconds of soak time.  The package of bonito flakes should have a suggested water to weight ratio along with suggested boiling time.

Once you’ve strained the broth you have dashi that can be used in any number of dishes.  Use it as a broth for nabe, reduce it for use in chanpuru or boil rice for cha han to add extra flavor.  If you’re set on miso soup then add your vegetables.  In the video, I added enoki mushrooms, onions, and shima tofu all at once.  I did it that way because they all cook at around the same speed.  If you add root vegetables, put them in earlier to cook before adding things like onions or tofu.  Chicken or white fish also work well.

Once your vegetables have cooked for a few minutes and look about half way done, you’ll want to add your miso.  Reduce the heat so that your dashi is no longer boiling.  There are three ways you can add your miso.

  1. Add miso directly to the pot – I suggest against this as it will lead to clumps that might tangle in your vegetables and be unappetizing.
  2. Use a ladle to remove a bit of broth and work the miso into a soft paste that will dissolve more easily into the soup.  This works but can be tricky if some of your miso escapes.
  3. Remove a bit of broth from the soup in a bowl and dissolve the miso completely, repeating as necessary.  The best option though it can be time-consuming.

Let the miso soup simmer for at least 3 minutes on low heat. Check to ensure the soup does not boil.  Serve and enjoy.  I suggest finishing the soup with fresh chives.  The soup will reheat well enough from the fridge or even from a freezer, though it is best when fresh.

Thanks for reading!  If you try this or any recipe please let me know how it works for you.  If you have any questions feel free to ask.