Miso soup comes in many variations, and is almost always a part of the Japanese meal at any time of day. My favourite version is with brown rice miso and lots of sansho pepper, but try using different types of miso until you find what suits you best. Typically the north of Japan uses more red miso, the centre uses white miso, and the south uses barley miso but it also changes with the seasons and the weather. Miso soup may look very plain and simple, but it’s packed with nutrients and protein. In fact, it’s the perfect dish when you have a cold (or hangover). Many people attribute the longevity of the Japanese to miso soup consumption. Drinking soups with every meal keeps your body more hydrated, and helps digestion. This recipe is a classic version, but try adding different things to the dish such as fish or mushrooms.
How to make Miso Soup
Makes: For 4 people as part of a meal
Time to prepare: 20 minutes
4g dried wakame seaweed
1 spring onion
40g silken tofu
800ml dashi (see recipe in Basics section)
80g shiro miso paste (or any miso you prefer)
1 pinch of sansho pepper (optional)
fine sieve or tea strainer
4 miso soup bowls with lids (or similar serving bowls)
1. Place the dried wakame seaweed in cold water for 5 minutes to re-hydrate.
2. Finely slice the spring onion with a sharp knife, then wash it in a fine sieve under cold running water. (This helps to take away the excess onion taste and fluffs up the slices, making it nicer to eat.)
3. Cut the tofu into 5mm dice, and place them in a small bowl with cold water to prevent them breaking.
4. Drain the wakame and onions.
5. Heat the dashi in a pot and bring it to the boil.
6. Switch off the heat and whisk in the miso: put the miso in a small sieve and then lower into the pan. Use a spoon or small whisk to pass the miso through. This ensures you don’t get lumps.
7. Divide the wakame, spring onions, and tofu evenly between the 4 miso soup bowls,.
8. Pour the hot soup into the bowls over the garnish, and sprinkle each with a little sansho pepper. Enjoy hot.