There’s nothing like a warm bowl of soup on a cold winter’s day, and if you make it miso (pronounced mee-so) you’ll not only take the chill off but give your health an incredible boost.
Miso, which is made from soybeans, sea salt, and sometimes rice or barley, is full of enzymes that support digestive processes. It also has a reputation as an immune booster, and is rich in calcium which helps explain why osteoporosis is almost unheard of among Japanese women. One of the best ways to add miso to your diet is in miso soup.
Traditional Miso Soup
Yield: 4 Servings
5 cups water
5-inch piece konbu cut in small pieces (could use dried seaweed flakes instead)
1/2 cup bonito (dried baby tuna from Asian store; Hanagatsuo is a good brand. There’s also a powdered product called Hondashi that can be substituted. If you use it, just 1 Tbsp. will do.)
2 Tbsp. white or light miso (found in Asian and health food stores)
1/2–1 pkg. tofu, cut into small cubes
2 Tbsp. wakame (another type of seaweed)
1–2 Tbsp. chopped scallion (or to taste)
Daikon (a root vegetable), chopped
Chinese cabbage, shredded
Shellfish (clams, oysters, lobster) as desired
Fill a large pot with 5 cups water and add konbu and bonito. Bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, remove from heat and strain out konbu and/or bonito (if you’ve used Hondashi it can’t be strained out).
Add tofu, miso, and wakame—in that order—to broth and simmer 5–7 minutes (but do not boil). At this point you may add other optional ingredients, except for scallions, which should be added just before removing from heat for the final time, and simmer a few minutes more. Serve hot.
Now it’s your turn: Do you have a miso recipe to share?
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