Miso Soup

MAKES: 4 servings

TIME: About 15 minutes

At its simplest, miso soup is really just tea—miso mixed with water (which you can do in a cup, with a little whisk). This recipe is slightly more complicated, flavorful, and substantial. Almost needless to say, you can add many different vegetables to miso soup—carrots, peas, beans, and so on—but since the general idea is light and simple, you may choose to keep it that way. Several ideas for additions are listed below.

Hatcho miso is probably best here, because it’s so dark and flavorful, but any good miso will make a lovely soup.

1 quart Kombu Dashi or water

1/3 cup hatcho or other miso

8 ounces silken tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/4 cup minced scallion

01 Heat the dashi or water until steaming (do not boil) in a medium saucepan. Turn the heat to low, then mix about 1/2 cup of the liquid with the miso in a bowl or blender; whisk or blend until smooth. (If you have an immersion blender, the fastest and easiest tool here, carry out this operation in a tall measuring cup.)

02 Pour the miso mixture back into the hot water and add the tofu; stir once or twice and let sit for a minute, just long enough to heat the tofu through. Add the scallion and serve.

7 Additions to Miso Soup

  1. Add seaweed, either the kombu from making the dashi (chopped), or a little steamed hijiki.
  2. Add sliced shiitake mushroom caps, either fresh (and simmered briefly in Step 1) or dried, soaked (see Reconstituting Dried Mushrooms). Or, for extra flavor, sautГ© the sliced mushrooms in neutral oil or butter.
  3. Add thinly sliced or minced daikon (or other radish), simmered briefly in Step 1.
  4. Add a clove of garlic in Step 1.
  5. Add about 1/2 package of soaked and cut bean thread noodles (see Bean Threads).
  6. Add about 1 cup of cooked and chopped greens, like collards or spinach, along with the tofu.
  7. Garnish with peeled and grated ginger.