Miso is fermented beans, mostly soybeans. My Mofo Post 10, Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup made using 'dashi' stock. Dashi is a japanese soup base that is prepared by soaking kombu (kelp), niboshu (dried sardines), katsuobushi (dried bonita - fish flakes) or shiitake(dried shiitake mushrooms). The vegetarian version uses kombu and/or shiitake mushrooms.
Miso paste comes in several variations such as white (shiro miso), red (aka miso) and mixed (awase). Miso paste is chosen based on the ingredient it is normally cooked with, and the taste varies from mellow to intense. The miso paste when added to the soup has a good amount of saltiness (which I am not generally used to). So, a low-sodium miso paste might be better, especially, if you are conscious about your salt intake.
Talking about salt, all I can think about, is my daughter. For everyday cooking, we consume less salt when compared to others (don't worry, I don't cook that way when I have friends/family over). But my daughter, on the other hand, has a picky palate!! She refuses to eat any food with less salt in it. I can already sense that she is going to be my biggest critic as she grows up.
Miso soup served with white rice is a traditional japanese breakfast. Despite, its reputation for high sodium content, studies show that miso-based diets can lower the risk of cardiovascular problems. Also, consuming more than 2 cups of miso soup, can reduce the risk of breast cancer in women. It is a good source of vitamin K, minerals, protein and dietary fiber. It contains antioxidants that increase with fermentation period. Did you know that 2 tablespoons of soy-based miso is equivalent to a quarter cup of legume?
It is one of the easiest soups to make. If you have miso paste, you are almost half way there. Add veggies of your choice and enjoy this easy and light miso soup.
1/4 cup button (or shiitake) mushrooms, thinly sliced (approx. 3-4 medium sized mushrooms)
1/4 cup nappa cabbage, roughly chopped
2 - 3 tbsp scallions, finely chopped (green and white part)
1/4 cup soft/silken tofu (8-10 1" cubes)
3 cups filtered water
2 tbsp white miso (shinshu) paste
1-2 tbsp wakame or dried seaweed, shredded (optional)
Dash of low-sodium soy sauce (optional)
1/8 tsp hot sesame oil (optional)
Choice of vegetables is based on your preference. It is suggested to keep vegetables at a minimal instead of having them dominate the soup. Grated carrot is also a good addition to the soup.
In a stock pot, on medium heat, add water, nappa cabbage, sliced mushrooms and white part of the scallions (almost like a quick veggie broth). Simmer for 4-5 mins until mushrooms and nappa cabbage shrink slightly.
Note: If adding dried seaweed, add it to the water and let it simmer for 5-6 mins until all the fishy smell is gone and then add the rest of the ingredients.
Add tofu and boil for 2-3 mins.
In a small bowl, add the miso paste and ladle 1/4 cup of the simmering vegetable broth. Stir well using a fork or whisk to soften the miso paste.
Add the softened miso paste into the broth and mix well. Simmer for 2-3 mins until miso is dissolved (Do not boil the miso as it will lose all its healthy enzymes).
Add soy sauce, hot sesame oil and green part of the scallions. Simmer for 1-2 min and turn off stove.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with scallions (green part only). Serve hot with rice(optional).
Makes 3 servings.