Miso Soup

Simple and Good

Ah, miso. This is wonderful stuff. It's made from fermented soybeans and is very nutritious; other than that I'm a fairly good demonstration that you don't have to be clueful about a food to like it. Miso makes a really good quick soup, and it will keep well if refrigerated. You can also make a very fancy soup in a hurry, using a miso base.

I like what's sold around here as red miso, best; I like brown rice miso second best. Most of the miso I can find comes in a paste, in little tubs.

This is very simple. Boil water in a kettle, and put the miso into the cup or bowl. Add a few tablespoons of hot water to the paste and mix until you get a miso slurry; that will allow it to mix well when you add the remainder of the hot water. Do that, and stir. Mmm.

You can add all sorts of things to the miso broth. If you like them to be cooked more first, boil the water in a saucepan and boil the whatever in with the water, then use the same technique as above, mixing a little water into the paste and then combining the slurry with the rest of the water to make a broth.

Things I Like in Miso Soup

I won't claim that any of these are accurate or correct for miso soup, though some of them probably are. These are just simple and yummy things to throw into it. It works better for me if combined with either savory (but not too salty) foods or with very bland foods, which can pick up the lovely flavor of the broth. Sweet vegetables don't go as well, in my opinion; I wouldn't suggest putting in yams or winter squash, for example.

Don't add all of the below at once! (Not that you would....)

My housemates really liked miso when I was cooking for them, and it's one of the most expedient foods I know that also tastes complex and interesting. Perhaps that's just because it's a little unusual as a staple for us, or perhaps because Japanese restaurants were always reserved for special occasions in my family, so it always tastes festive to me.

Miso can be used in dressings, in which case it does combine well with sweet vegetables. One of the restaurants I went to said that their dressing contained only miso, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and peanut oil. I managed to approximate it, but I had to keep playing around with the ingredients to do so. My SO really likes that dressing, so I should get a formula for it someday. It's a little like Thousand Island in consistency, but more translucent, and it tastes both nutty and tangy.

A sushi bar I used to frequent used to make a dish called Venus on the Half Shell, which included all sorts of delectable shellfish placed into an abalone shell, drizzled with miso mayonnaise, and broiled long enough for the miso sauce to brown a little. Then they'd serve it topped with tobiko (flying fish roe). It was incredible.

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Miso Soup / Gretchen / Flick Inc / © Copyright April 15, 1997 Gretchen
Last modified: April 15, 1997 / gretchen@flick.com