Miso

A typical Japanese meal may include a bowl of Miso soup or Misoshiru (味噌), it is a staple of Japanese cooking. It has a wide number of variations and derivative dishes. It is an incredibly tasty and nourishing lunch and if you follow modern-day Japanese custom using instant Dashi stock very, very quick and easy.

Miso Soup
Miso Soup with Tofu and Mushrooms

Miso (みそ or 味噌) is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced from starch by a fermentation process with salt and the fungus kōjikin (麹菌). The most typical miso being made with soy, the next with rice and then with barley. The end product is a thick salty paste used for sauces and spreads, pickling vegetables or meats, and mixing with dashi soup stock to serve as miso soup. Miso is very high in proteins and rich in vitamins and minerals. The taste depends on the various ingredients and the fermentation process. There is a very wide variety of miso available. Different varieties of miso have been described as salty, sweet, earthy, fruity, and savoury.

Dashi (出汁, だし) is a tasty stock, which becomes the base of many Japanese dishes, such as a Miso soup, dipping sauce, nimono ( classic simmered cooking ) and nabe ( hot pots ).There are a number of dashi made by steeping various ingredients in hot water or boiling them together, then straining off the resulting broth through cheesecloth. They are rich in umami the fifth taste which is strongly associated with savouriness. Fresh dashi has an incredible flavour and is best used on the day it is made. If you have some leftover dashi, it can be kept it in a covered container in the refrigerator for two days. However, many modern day Japanese households use instant dashi granules or powder.

Dashi is made from any of the following ingredients or sometimes in combination; kombu (dried kelp or tangle weed), katsuo-bushi (dried bonito flakes or fermented dried skip-jack tuna), niboshi (dried small sardines or anchovies with the heads and intestines removed) or hoshi-shiitake (dried shiitake mushrooms). Kombu dashi and dried shiitake mushroom dashi are excellent vegetarian stock bases.

The dashi stock is simmered with several additions, more solid, dense ingredients such as potatoes are added first and cooked in the stock. Other ingredients such as tofu are added later and just warmed through.

Basic steps for making Miso soup

Preparing the dashi.

Instant dashi powder or granules and various varieties of miso paste alongside all of the other authentic ingredients are available in some larger supermarkets and specialist food retailers. It is quick to use a dashi powder to make dashi stock. Usually, about 1 dessert spoon of dashi powder is used for one litre of water. Check the individual package instructions.

Add hard ingredients and simmer until softened.

Heat through remaining ingredients quickly.

Remove a little of the dashi stock from the pan and stir in some miso paste. Add back the miso mix into the dashi soup and stir gently. Turn off the heat before the soup boils. Experts believe boiling destroys both the flavour and the beneficial aspects of the miso paste.

Add fine green vegetables and serve.

Some ingredients for your Miso Soup

Tofu, potato, onion, daikon radish, wakame seaweed, clams, shrimp, prawns, pork, abura-age (deep fried tofu), green onion, mushrooms, green peas, cabbage, and carrots.

Two Miso Soup Recipes

This simple miso is enhanced with the silky smokiness of the tofu and the earthy savouriness of the mushrooms.

1 dessertspoon Dashi Granules ( check packaging for individual brands instructions )

1 litre Water

3 tablespoons Miso paste of your choice

1 pack of Smoked Tofu

6 Shiitake Mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced

4 Spring Onions, very finely sliced across the diagonal

In a medium saucepan combine the dashi granules and water and bring to the boil. Thoroughly dissolve the dashi then reduce heat to medium. Add the mushrooms and simmer. Place the miso paste in a bowl and whisk in a little of the dashi stock. Add the tofu to the pan and simmer for two minutes. Add the sliced onions and the miso paste mix. Warm through for a further minute and serve.

This second recipe is a little more complex, making your own dashi stock, the ginger adds a little spice to the finished miso soup and watercress a wonderful pepperiness.

For the Broth

25 gr dried Kombu Seaweed

10 gr Bonito

1 litre Water

2 tablespoons Sake

2 teaspoons of Sugar

½ teaspoon of preserved Stem Ginger, very, very finely grated

3 tablespoons of Soy Miso paste

For the soup

200 gr Salmon, skin off, diced

100 gr peeled Shrimp

100 gr Silken Tofu

75 gr Watercress

50 gr dark green Cabbage Leaves, washed and cut into 2 centimetre squares

50 gr Peas

6 Shiitake Mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced

4 Spring Onions, very finely sliced across the diagonal

In a medium-sized pan heat the water, kombu and bonito flakes. Simmer for four minutes and then remove from the heat. Allow to cool and let the kombu and bonito flakes steep in the dashi stock for two hours. Strain through cheesecloth and return to the pan. Bring the dashi stock back to the boil and reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Add the ginger, sugar, sake, mushrooms, salmon, and shrimp. Poach in the simmering dashi stock for five minutes. Place the miso paste in a bowl and whisk in a little of the dashi stock. Add the tofu, cabbage, and peas to the pan and simmer for two minutes. Add the sliced onions and the miso paste mix. Warm through for a further minute and serve.

Allergens in this recipe are;

 Raw Fish  Oyster  Crab  Flour and Soy

Please see the Allergens Page

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