Miso soup is a simple traditional Japanese soup made from dashi (I sort of think of it as a fish stock bullion. It can be made from seaweed, sardines, bonito, kelp, etc..) and miso paste (There are three types red, white, and mixed). But more then it’s parts miso soup is Japanese comfort food. My husband is part Japanese by way of his Mother (who is an excellent cook) and was fortunate enough to grow up eating fantastic home cooked Japanese food. Miso soup to him is what chicken soup is to many Americans. When he gets sick, or tired, or some times just because he wants miso.
Not knowing how to make miso soup until recently we’ve always kept Kikkoman instant miso packets around the house. And while they curbed the worst of the miso cravings for my husband they really just don’t taste the same as a homemade miso. To be honest I couldn’t figure out why on Earth my husband liked miso so much after tasting them. I finally figured it out after tasting my Mother in law’s miso. So different. Rich broth, slightly salty, fresh vegetables that have simmered in the broth and pick up the flavors, perhaps a scoop of rice added… now this stuff was worth eating!
A few days ago when my husband picked up a cold I finally asked my Mother in law for the recipe. I found it was surprisingly easy and quick to make. Much to my husbands delight I made a monster pot, which we’ve been enjoying for a few days. Actually I’m having the last for lunch today as I write this post.
Like any traditional food or favored comfort food there are as many recipes as there are people who cook the dish. Tofu, scallions, mushrooms, and seaweed make an appearance in many recipes. The recipe I’m sharing with you today is just one variation based on my Mother in law’s recipe. The key according to my Mother in law is the dashi. So if you’ve never used this ingredient don’t be shy. I know sardines don’t sound the most appealing to everyone.
If you have your own favorite miso recipe to share I’d love to hear! If you’ve never had miso before branch out and give this a try. It’s easy, tasty, and maybe you’ll find a new comfort food as well.Print