Miso Soup

Miso Soup Recipe

This is the miso soup recipe that nourished me back from illness. Remember when I was sick last month? Well, after a couple days of nothing but crackers and popsicles, it was miso soup that eventually brought me back to the land of functioning human beings. The first few pots were simply a couple tablespoons of light, mild white miso paste whisked into water with a pinch of salt - but I began to build from there. A handful of tiny tofu cubes went into the next pot, and noodles into the pot after that. Little by little I started to feel like myself again.

Miso Soup Recipe

This is a simple, everyday approach to miso soup - it yields me a bowl of soup in five or ten minutes. Sometimes I go simple, other times I start adding ingredients. Just keep in mind, you can take it in a thousand different directions depending on how you are feeling, what's in season at the markets, or the time of year. I tend to use lighter miso pastes in warmer months and the darker ones when I'm after a heartier, more substantial soup - sometimes I do a blend of two pastes. In place of the water you can certainly experiment with different broths, or even tea. And while this version incorporates noodles and tofu, you could certainly do all sorts of variations with sautéed vegetables. A tiny drizzle of toasted sesame oil is often a welcome addition, and mushrooms are a natural fit as well.

I would argue that this post is less a miso soup recipe, and more an encouragement to give it a go in your own kitchens. Let me know if you have any recommendations for your all-time favorite miso pastes - or if you blend, let me know your favorite blends as well. I'd be up for tracking down some new miso pastes - not just for soups, but for dressing and drizzles, and all that fun stuff as well.

Miso Soup Recipe

Miso Choice: This time around I used an organic white miso, but I'd encourage you to experiment with a range of misos.

3 ounces dried soba noodles
2 - 4 tablespoons miso paste (to taste)
2 - 3 ounces firm tofu (2 handfuls), chopped into 1/3-inch cubes
a handful of watercress or spinach, well washed and stems trimmed
2 green onions, tops removed thinly sliced
a small handful of cilantro
a pinch of red pepper flakes

Cook the soba noodles in salted water, drain, run cold water over the noodles to stop them from cooking, shake off any excess water and set aside.

In a medium sauce pan bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and remove from heat. Pour a bit of the hot water into a small bowl and whisk in the miso paste - so it thins out a bit (this step is to avoid clumping). Stir this back into the pot. Taste, and then add more (the same way) a bit at a time until it is to your liking. Also, some miso pastes are less-salty than others, so you may need to add a bit of salt here. Add the tofu, remove from the heat, and let it sit for just a minute or so.

Split the noodles between two (or three) bowls, and pour the miso broth and tofu over them. Add some watercress, green onions, cilantro, and red pepper flakes to each bowl and enjoy.

Serves 2 - 3.

Prep time: 5 minutes - Cook time: 5 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

  • I also work in a Japanese restaurant (aside from the deli) and we use dashi for the soup base. It rounds out the salty rich miso, but for vegetarians, kombu is great. It contains natural msg (it gives it that 'umami taste' ) It is typical to adjust the soups richness according to the season, lighter in the summer, dense in the winter. As far as I know, they use both light and dark pastes and just adjust accordingly. We use a wisk and a seive to make the soup. This really cuts down on time. This is to Paul: not sure where you live. I am in Nebraska and I don't have a problem finding miso. You have to keep in mind some Asian markets specialize in certain places like India and middle eastern contries. You can also find miso at organic or specialty grocery stores. Last resort, I guess, order it on line????

    -Mel-
  • Paul: Do you have a Whole Foods near you? They have Miso in the refrigerated section, usually near the Tofu and fake cheeses. Trader Joe's may have it, but I didn't find any at mine. In the Asian Grocery, it's also in the refrigerated section. Now, all asian groceries are different, but in mine it was near a lot of Japanese foods, and some pickled vegetables, and it was across from the tofu and some produce. Now I know that doesn't really help, but try looking in the cold case next time you go. I'm really excited to try this recipe, and so happy that it was posted now. I just bought some miso for the first time to try making a miso-tahini dressing/dip since I bought tahini to do another recipe from this site a couple weeks ago, but don't know what else to do with the tahini. Going to go buy some tofu, greens, and seaweed tomorrow and try this one out!

    Leigh
  • I use a white miso made locally here in Portland...I removed it from the originally packaging and can't recall who makes it. Don't know if it's available outside of Portland. I love it and use it in dressing all the time...brown rice vinegar, sesame seed oil, miso, shoyu and a little pepper is fantastic over shredded cabbage, carrots, and chopped apples. I usually do miso in a dashi stock, which is quite easy...just bonito flakes and kelp, simmered in water for 10 or so minutes. Sometimes, if I'm out of bonito or kelp, I just used a Japanese seasoning "salt" that has bonito and kelp in it. Strain that, then add miso and other ingredients.

    Chris
  • I've been having trouble finding miso. Can't locate it at Kroger or Harris Teeter, and I couldn't even turn up any after looking through my local Asian market. Am I looking in the wrong places or something? Where would I normally find miso on the shelf? Any advice?

    Paul
  • So simple and yummy. Thanks for sharing.

    Hayley
  • i am always impressed by people who make their own miso soup. i know it's not that difficult, but i've never done it from anything other than a package.

    veggievixen
  • I live in Cabo, and while the Japanese/Sushi restaurants aren't truly authentic they are very yummy (avocado in almost every dish). My favorite in terms of Misso is the way they serve it at some Japanese places in here. As I said not really authentic but delicious. Not exactly sure how they make the actual soup but besides the seaweed and tofu they also add raw, slices button mushrooms, avocado, surimi crab meat,serrano or avanero peppers,chives, and a few drops of lime. Mmmmm! At home I usually make fish broth and then add the paste (don't have a special brand). Then I'll add what ever I have on hand.

    Loreto
  • I always use dried konbu and shiitake to make my dashi before adding the miso. Makes a huge difference. I also boil julienned veggies (like carrots and daikon) for a few minutes in the dashi before adding the miso. Wakame is also a typical and nice addition for a simple miso soup.

    Patricia
  • Question about the soba: The only soba noodles I can find cost about $8 a pound. Is it worth it? Is it that much better than whole wheat spaghetti? I've had this dilemma many times now, and always end up going with the cheap option. Can you advise? Thanks.

    spoiledonlychild
  • I absolutely adore miso soup. Thank you for sharing your version!

    Pearl
  • Heidi, as always your photos are mouthwatering. I like Sasutan's suggestion to use a dashi. And as Lily pointed out, seaweed is always nice (and easy to keep on hand).

    Kalinda
  • You should always use a light Dashi (fish stock) as the base for your miso. It will give a much richer, umami flavour. It's very easy to just boil bonito fish flakes or dried konbu in your water for 5 mins or so, then add the miso paste to the flavour infused water. (or you can just buy powdered dashi and add that).

    Sasutan
  • I have no real recommendations, aside from adding shichimi togarashi in place of red pepper flakes. It's all over Japan and for good reason: it's a lovely, bright spice that enlivens dishes without scorching the tongue.

    Madeline
  • Ooo...I love miso soup! I have been dying to buy soba noodles and know exactly why I'm buying them. Gonna pick up some of those AND some miso paste this week. If I find a tasty brand I will drop you a line and give you the brand name.

    torta
  • Seaweed is great in miso soup. I am able to buy it in bulk at the grocery store and love experimenting with all the varities. Dried seaweed is VERY healthy and has a long shelf life. You can just toss in a handful to your soup around when you add the miso.

    Lily
  • I'm excited to see what recommendations people have for miso paste. I haven't yet found a paste I like as well as what I get in a Japanese restaurant. I'm glad to hear miso got you back on your feet! Some people swear it's a panacea of sorts, even potentially alleviating/curing radiation sickness. And then there's the fact that it's really quite tasty, especially with shiitake. But then, shiitake makes a lot of things delicious.

    Laurel from Simple Spoonful
  • I'd never thought much about customizing miso, but thanks so much for another fantastic idea and recipe!

    Lisa
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