Shiitake Mushroom Miso Soup

Makes 7 1/2 cups (1.875 L)

Most people believe that miso originated in Japan, but it can be traced back to China, to as early as the fourth century. Miso is a dark, rich, fermented paste made from beans (usually soybeans) and grain. It contains active friendly bacteria that can aid digestion. Each miso brand has its own distinct aroma, colour, and flavour that determine how it should best be used. Light miso is sweeter and more subtle; it is suitable for dishes that call for a delicate flavour. Dark miso is more robust and salty; it is appropriate for recipes that need more assertive seasoning.

5 ounces (150 g) shiitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons (30 mL) coconut or olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup (250 mL) diced carrots
6 cups (1.5 L) water or vegetable stock
1/2 cup (125 mL) brown rice
2 teaspoons (10 mL) dried marjoram
2 teaspoons (10 mL) dried thyme
1/4 cup (60 mL) dark miso
1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh parsley
Wash the mushrooms and remove and discard the tough stems. Thinly slice the caps.

Put the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and mushrooms and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the moisture from the mushrooms has evaporated. Add the garlic and carrots and cook for about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the water, rice, marjoram, and thyme. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Put the miso in a small bowl and stir in about 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the soup broth to make a thin paste. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the miso mixture and parsley. Serve at once.

Per cup (250 mL): calories: 121, protein: 3 g, fat: 5 g, carbohydrate: 17 g (2 g from sugar), dietary fibre: 2 g, calcium: 37 mg, iron: 2 mg, magnesium: 31 mg, phosphorus: 63 mg, potassium: 144 mg, sodium: 369 mg, zinc: 1 mg, thiamin: 0.1 mg, riboflavin: 0.1 mg, niacin: 1 mg, vitamin B6: 0.2 mg, folate: 14 mcg, pantothenic acid: 0.3 mg, vitamin B12: 0 mcg, vitamin A: 155 mcg, vitamin C: 6 mg, vitamin E: 0.3 mg, omega-6 fatty acids: 0.5 g, omega-3 fatty acids: 0.1 g

Percentage of calories from protein 10%, fat 34%, carbohydrate 56%