One of the reasons I really wanted to consult my friend Stacey about Japanese food is that I have been wanting for years to try my hand at miso soup. I have a recipe book on Japanese cuisine, but although it has many soup recipes none are that basic standard of every Japanese restaurant I have ever visited: miso soup. When in Chicago, I regularly stock up on the powdered version available in my favourite health food store (Sherwyn’s) and I have even gone so far as to buy a packet of the miso paste…but then I am stopped dead in my tracks. What next?!?
So I told Stacey about my goal when we visited the Japanese grocery store and she made sure I got all the right ingredients. Whew.
It turns out that Miso soup is not only incredibly delicious, but incredibly easy to make. On Stacey’s advice (combined with the cryptic instructions on the box of miso paste) here is the recipe.
My Miso Soup Recipe
- 2 strips of konbu (dried seaweed, cut in big pieces)
- 1/2 cup katso-bushi or at least this is what I assume it is from the recipes I have read; the smell and look are consistent with dried tuna flakes - I just bought what Stacey told me to get!
- 5 cups water
- a small bunch of enoki mushrooms
- 2 small bunches of certified organic Alaria dried seaweed, purchased at Sherwyn's some time ago in the vague hope I would some day learn about miso soup silky tofu (to taste - didn't put in too much as the Critic doesn't like it)
- 4 green onions/scallions
- Soak the konbu in the water for at least half an hour to bring out the maximum amount of flavour.
- Bring to the point of nearly boiling and remove from heat. Remove konbu from broth. (The Epicurious recipe I looked at afterwards said "reserve (it) for another use" - no idea what would that be?)
- Add the fish flakes and bring back to the boil; cook for a few minutes. Strain the broth and return to the heat. Add the alaria seaweed (cut in bite-sized morsels), the tofu (ditto), the onions (chopped finely) and the mushrooms (ditto).
- Cook for 15-20 minutes, to allow the seaweed to expand and the flavours to mix. Just before serving, add 1 heaping Tbs (55g) of miso paste.