Miso soup is one of the traditional soups of Japan. Satisfying, warming and aromatic, miso soup is enjoyed any time of day from early morning and into late night.
Dashi-The Foundation of Japanese Cuisine-
The base of our Miso Soup is Dashi Stock. Dashi is a broth made from kombu kelp or dried seaweed and bonito flakes.
Bonito flakes are paper-thin shavings of dried bonito tuna. Simmered in water, the kombu and bonito add the salty flavor of the sea to Dashi. Dashi can be used in soups, stews and dipping sauces.
Dashi is quick and easy to make from scratch using our recipe, so don't spend extra money buying packets of instant Dashi.
Miso, The Soul of Japanese Soup-
I started making miso soup a few years back and now it's a regular on the dining table. Miso is fermented soybean paste and comes in three types-white miso, red miso and dark miso each with a different flavor profile. Miso soup is easy to make and budget-friendly, the ingredients can be found in many supermarkets and always at a local Asian shop.
Miso soup is also very healthy and adapts to a wide array of vegetables and meat or seafood.
But let's not confuse Miso Soup with Ramen. Miso Soup uses dashi stock as the base with miso added. The base of ramen soup is a stock made from simmering bones, usually pork, with vegetables and seasoning.
Ramen broth can be used for months and months, each time enhancing the broth with fresh ingredients. If you don't live in a town with a seafood shop, or the seafood at the supermarket doesn't look good, Fulton Fish Market in New York is the perfect online choice. They are one of the top suppliers to restaurants and the fish and shellfish are brought in daily and shipped to you fresh.
Noodles, Vegetables, Seafood and Meats-
In this recipe, we added finely shredded cabbage, carrot, green onions and clam meat, but there aren't any boundaries on miso soup once the soup base is made. Try different syles of noodles and add what you like. For breakfast, add a soft-boiled egg. For dinner, add thin strips of beef. And miso soup is always delicious with just a few leaves of spinach and tofu stirred in.
Don't worry that your miso soup looks cloudy, it should. Stir it just before serving and always serve piping hot.
Start with Miso Soup, then a taste of Southeast Asia with our Fried Tofu and Prawns with Sweet and Sour Fish Sauce-
Miso Soup with Cabbage and Clams
finely shredded cabbage
dried thin rice noodles
thinly sliced green onions for garnish
Pour the dashi into a stockpot over high heat and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-high and stir in the red miso and a few drops of soy sauce. The miso will melt into the dashi in about 3 minutes.
Stir in the cabbage and continue to cook and stir, another 2-3 minutes until the cabbage is soft. Stir in the carrots and clams, and cook for another 2 minutes.
Stir in the rice noodles and cook until they are soft, about 3-4 more minutes.
To serve, place some noodles, clams, carrot and cabbage into small serving bowls. Ladle the hot miso soup over the vegetables, clams and noodles and garnish with some green onions.
For this recipe we used frozen clam meat. Frozen clam meat is easy to work with and freezes well. You can also use fresh, live clams in the shell. Poach the clams in simmering water for about 6-7 minutes until the shells open. Remove the clam meat and discard the shells, but save the poaching liquid and use it to flavor the miso soup. We used red miso in this recipe for it's color and flavor. Miso comes in other colors and depths of flavor, so experiment with different varieties to suit your recipe and tastes. We used gluten free Korean rice noodles, but try any type of noodle your like. Stay away from bean thread noodles though as they don't work as good for this recipe.