Miso Soup

IMG_1390.JPG

For those who know me it comes like surprise, since I am very well known not to cook asian food. The primary reason is the expertise that you need to cook asian food. The wok, the preparation the procedures… Everything is different than what I have been used to cook. And yes, I can put it vegetables and chicken pieces in the pan and call it chinese chicken, but according to the popular believe, things are not always what you call them. So although I admit that I am not aware of the asian cooking techniques, I do admit that I like certain dishes, and flavors. One of the is miso soup. 

Miso soup is a very simple, but satisfying soup very popular in Japan and the typical opening dish in every japanese menu (at least in the united states). It is named after the miso paste that is the base of the soup, and is essentially a fermented soy paste. It is salty and nutty, reminding my of tarama a heavily sated fish roe used in greek cousin. It comes in different varieties ranging in color and flavor, from mild to strong based on the salt content and the misoness I guess. It is produced by fermenting rice, barley and/or soybeans, with salt and the fungus kōjikin, the most typical miso being made with soy. White and red (shiromiso and akamiso) are the basic types of miso available in all of Japan as well as overseas. Different varieties are preferred in particular regions. For example, in the eastern Kantō region that includes Tokyo, the lighter shiromiso is popular, while in the western Kansai region encompassing Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe, darker brownish hatchomiso is preferred, and akamiso is favored in the Tokai area.

For a typical miso soup as I was told from Asako, my Koumpara we need very few ingredients. One of them is dashi or fish broth that you can make home. However, if you use home made you will lose something of the essence of the food. Look at the ingredients:

IMG_1376

  • Miso (from the box)
  • Tofu (from the box)
  • Dashida (from the package)
  • Soy sauce (from the bottle)
  • Green onions ( I forgot to include them in the picture, probably because I was so fascinated by the packaged food)

So you see home made broth will be out of his game here. It will be too much for a dish that did not ask for that much.
IMG_1363

Start by bringing to a boil 2 cups of water.

IMG_1364

with 1 tsp of dashida (the powder dashi).

IMG_1368

While this boils bring your attention to the scallions, the only actual fresh ingredient.

IMG_1370

Chop it finely.

shapeimage_2

Separate the green from the white part. We will cool the white part, while we will use for garnish the green.

IMG_1377

Open the packaged silken tofu. Yeah. Stop. Silken tofu, it is called silken because it is very smooth and very fragile. It is not used in miso soup, but I personally like the texture, which is very nicely goes with the miso philosophy.

shapeimage_3

Carefully remove it from the package.

IMG_1380

And slice it lengthwise. parallel to the cutting board.

IMG_1381

Follow this with horizontal and vertical to dice it.

IMG_1383

Add into the soup

IMG_1384

and follow it with the white part of the onion. We need to cook this slightly to make sure it drives some of the oniony burning out. Have the soup on a low, low simmer.

IMG_1385

Take three tbsp of miso in a bowl.

IMG_1386

Add tho this 1/2 cup or more it is up to you.

IMG_1388

Whisk to combine.

IMG_1389

And add it to the soup. Simmer for 5 more min.

shapeimage_4

Serve and garnish with the green part of the onion.

As simple dish from a country that taught as all what simple really means. I occasionally add rice noodles, or frozen veggies, to make a meal out of it.

« »

Leave a Reply

Last modified: June 26, 2013 by Georgios Pyrgiotakis