Miso soup is one of the most commonly eaten dishes in all of Japan. It can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or part of a dinner. You might even be served miso soup after a night on the town to get a headstart on your hangover cure. As with many dishes in Japan it only takes a few ingredients, prepared with simply and with great care, to create a restorative meal. 

At its core miso soup is made up of three ingredients: dashi, miso paste, and tofu. Dashi is a light broth made from dried kelp and dried and smoked fish katsuobushi. The choice of miso paste (white, yellow or red) varies from region to region, but it is most important not to boil the miso. Instead it should be gently warmed with the dashi broth to retain its flavor and naturally fermented probiotics. Finally, most miso soup is served with small diced tofu. Additional ingredients may include wakame (seaweed), pickled ginger, shiitake mushrooms, or even small clams. Packets of instant miso soup are also very popular in Japan, especially as a quick lunch. They can be prepared simply by adding boiling water. Our recipe below is for a simple miso soup; feel free to add more ingredients as you like. Longer cooking vegetables like carrots can be cooked in the boiling broth, shorter cooking ingredients can be added right before the miso so that they don’t overcook. 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups dashi broth
  • ¼ cup miso paste (white, yellow, or red)
  • 8 oz firm tofu
  • 4 scallions

Instructions

1) Combine ½ cup dashi and ¼ cup miso paste in a small bowl. 

2) Cut tofu into cubes and thinly slice scallions. 

3) Bring the remaining 3½ cups dashi to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and carefully add the diced tofu and miso. 

4) Remove saucepan from heat. Divide soup between bowls and garnish with sliced scallion.

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