I was basically raised eating at sushi restaurants for every major celebration. Birthdays, report cards, new jobs, new accomplishments, and so on. My sister could say “maguro” before most other food names. When you eat sushi as much as we did, you also consume miso soup endlessly. Fast-forward to age 16 when I get my first job at a Japanese restaurant. I remember it was the year of many sinus infections, swine flu, and bronchitis. My boss sent me home one night with a big container of miso soup and said to me “miso soup is better for you when you’re sick than chicken noodle soup.” I have carried this with me from now on in life.
One of the best parts of college is learning how to personalize and experiment in the kitchen as much as you like. With a lot of encouragement from my older sister, I started an experiment of throwing ingredients in my soup and seeing if it tasted good. Spoiler alert: everything tasted good.
Here is my most recent, and probably my most favorite, miso soup I have made for dinner. I’m going to include two versions, one is vegetarian friendly, and one is the traditional fish based version that I always make!
What you need:
- Bonito soup stock (I’ll post a photo of which one I use at the end) or vegetable soup broth
- White Miso paste (you can find this at any Asian market)
- Green onions
- Dried wakame (you can find this at any Asian market)
- Extra firm tofu
- Udon noodles (I found these at Fresh Market)
- Egg (I did mine a midway between soft boiled and hard boiled)
- Large bowl
Boil your egg. This is the most time consuming, which is why I recommend doing it first. At my house I usually have about three hard boiled eggs in my fridge at any given point just incase I want it for a snack or to put in miso soup or ramen. However, let’s work with the theory of not having them in the fridge. Bring the water to a boil while the egg is in the water. If you want it less hard then leave it in for no more than 4-7 minutes of active boiling time and remove it from the water transferring it to an ice water bath immediately. If you want a fully hard boiled egg then leave it in the water with the burner turned off and the lid to the saucepan on it for about 10 minutes after the 4-7 minutes of active boiling time. Set aside for step 8.
Hydrate your wakame, use the amount you feel you will like. I am a huge fan of wakame so I use a bout as much that can fit in my palm while dried. You hydrate this by simply placing the dried wakame in warm water four about 5 minutes and then place in colander to strain. Set aside for step 8.
While you wakame is straining, blanch your kale. Honestly, because water takes too long to boil on my stovetop, I just microwave a measuring cup of water until its boiling and pour it into the saucepan while it’s on my warming zone. I like my kale lightly blanched so I only kept it in the hot water for about five minutes, not even. Then strain. Set aside for step 8. During this you can work on step 4!
Cut up your tofu into small cubes; slice your green onions (I use 2, but this is your choice) white parts and green parts into thin, even, slices; slice mushrooms into thin slices (I typically use 1 medium large white mushroom, just the cap). Set aside for step 8.
Boil your udon noodles based on the directions on the package for the brand you purchased! Then strain them from the water and set aside for step 8.
Step 6 (TRADITIONAL FISH BASED):
In your saucepan, put two cups of water and bring it to a simmer. Once simmering, add about two tablespoons of bonito stock base. Once stirred, taste it, it should taste light and refreshing but still a full flavor. If it is salty, add a little bit more water to balance it out.
Step 6 (VEGETARIAN FRIENDLY):
In your saucepan, put two cups of vegetable stock and bring it to a simmer so you know it is warm. Do not boil.
Using a fork, scoop in a heaping amount of miso paste. About 1 tablespoon approximately. Slowly stir the paste into the broth (this is why the broth shouldn’t be boiling, boiling liquid + miso paste = sad miso soup). Just keep stirring the paste in, if it falls off the fork, simply press the fork into the paste to return to stirring. This should only take a few moments. Lower the temperature of your soup so it just stays warm while you assemble your bowl.
Place all ingredients in bowl assembling how you like. You can shell the egg and cut it however you like for your soup. I sometimes get lazy and just cut the egg (in shell) in half and then scoop the contents out of the egg into my bowl. My favorite method is to put the ingredients in a circular arrangement as pictured here:
Give the soup a stir again because miso soup separates and then slowly pour it into you bowl.
Enjoy your soup and be healthy!!!!
Comment below with any personal twists you take on your miso soup. I love new ideas of what to put in my soup!