Miso Soup Recipe

A simple, everyday approach to miso soup - it yields me a bowl of soup in five or ten minutes. You can keep it simple if you like, but in this version I add soba noodles and tofu, and a few garnishes.

Miso Soup

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.

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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

Heidi, I love your blog and this is my first time commenting. I agreed pretty much with a lot of things that have been said, like using dashi as a base either the grainy instant powder version or the more time consuming bonito flakes/ kombu one. The advantage of using the instant dashi is is that I'm pretty sure there's a vegetable based one. I would also definitely go for some shitake and I'm also a big fan of wakame, especially the fresh salt preserved version. As a finishing touch I would add a drizzle of toasted sesame oil, some shishimi togarashi (i love it over noodles like in a big bowl of nabeyaki udon) and some chopped shiso leaves would round it all up nicely.

I spent most of grad school eating essentially this exact same soup, except I always used liquid dashi and a few dashes of soy sauce and black vinegar in place of the miso. Delicious, but I am ready to graduate to the real stuff...miso, here I come!

We are 'hot' for Miso at my house! In fact, my 12 year old son often eats miso soup for breakfast. I sometimes make my own but to be honest, he usually has the instant stuff in the morning. I've been on a huge miso dressing kick for my salads lately. I guess I need the extra protein or the salt or something. Here's a link to my dressing recipe in case any of you want to use your miso paste up: http://danamccauley.wordpress.com/2008/07/14/salad-with-wine-surely-you-jest/ I use this dressing on broccoli slaw, canned tuna, shredded diakon, jicama and oranges, green lettuce salads...it's very versatile.

My go-to when I'm not feeling well combines miso with garlic, lemon (or other citrus), greens, and plenty of ginger. and red crushed pepper. The aroma makes me swoon and the combination of foods revive me.

Kris

That looks like the perfect dinner for this chilly day. I love the richness of miso combined with fresh ingredients. mmm!

This last weekend I was taken under by a fever and mostly lived off of miso soup made with vegetable and konbu broth. At first just in a cup drunk like tea, then I moved on to noodles. Reading your similar account made me feel all warm and fuzzy, right, that's probably still the mild fever I'm working on. I'm glad to see someone else who mixes misos, I thought I was just being weird. I like red and white miso with somen noodles and green onions. I also like making it with oatstraw tea sometimes. There is a tasty recipe for walnut miso sauce in the Moosewood Cookbook too, very good.

@spoiledonlychild-- soba noodles are made from buckwheat, have no gluten, fewer calories and carbs than pasta, and more protein. of course how you customize your soup is up to you, but soba noodles are more expensive with good reason.

I just bought a container of the South River Miso a week back and you've inspired me to try it out this week. I've been thinking about themed-miso bowls like "Get my sweet on" Miso soup that would be stocked with cubed sweet potatoes, or perhaps a "Make me all better" Miso soup that could pose as a chicken soup loaded with poached chicken, noodles, matchstick carrots and sliced scallions. This has all now become a priority for this week. Thanks for the inspirational push!

I always keep a number of jars (different varieties) of South River miso in my frig. Would you recommend a particular type of miso? Chickpea, Sweet White, Heart Brown etc.?

I always keep a number of jars (different varieties) of South River miso in my frig. Would you recommend a particular type of miso? Chickpea, Sweet White, Heart Brown etc.?

I have no idea what its called, but we buy a spicy miso paste that I believe is actually Korean rather than Japanese. We tend to buy the instant miso kits (because they're easy to take to work) and a spoon or two of the spicy miso really makes it! It's also great mixed in some plain sticky rice, or stirred into a bowl of pho, or pretty much with anything!

Acher

My favorite winter miso soup ingredient is kabocha (Japanese pumpkin?). I also use dashi (fish stock) in mine as well.

This looks so good and so healthy!

Thanks for posting this Heidi. I adore Miso soup and like the idea of making your own to add in lots of hearty goodies like noodles. One question though - how long can you keep miso paste for in the fridge? I have had mine for about six months now and it seems fine but I am starting to get worried as I cannot tell whether there is a use by or not since all the writing is in Japanese!

I always have miso paste and bouillon in the fridge. If I want a little extra kick for a recipe I'll cook it with miso soup rather than bouillon or miso in the bouillon.

A warm bowl of miso when your feeling NQR is like a bowl of healing!

Wow, miso soup... my childhood memories flowing back into me... As some people already commented, it tastes much better with "dashi". (Kelp and/or dried muchrooms for vegetarians.) I think that "dashi" is already added to some kinds of miso. Especially, instant stuff. But we should be careful because some "dashi" are not suitable for vegetarians. And my favourite miso soup is one with sliced potatoes and onions. I adore the sweetness of onions in the soup.

Akiko

I love the recipes on this site. I just became a vegetarian, and it has really inspired me to do some more cooking at home. The one thing I wanted to second was the part about boiling miso. DO NOT BOIL MISO. Yes, do not boil miso. You should stir miso into a hot soup at the very end and take it off the flame. According to the Japanese, boiling the miso destroys the beneficial/healthy properties.

David

I live in Tokyo so obviously finding miso in not an issue here. The only problem I have is which one to choose from the 50 types available! I usually have 3 kinds of miso in my fridge: yellow, red and white. The yellow is the strongest (more salty) and the white the lightest (almost sweet). So I normally use a bit of all three in my soup, depending on my mood and taste of the day. As other reviewers have mentioned, making a dashi is essential for a miso soup with body. What I like to do is use fried tofu (store bought), cut into thin strips. I quickly fry it in a pot then add shredded carrots and daikon and mushroom slices and fry a couple minutes. Add dashi and bring to a boil. Add the miso only at the last minute, off the stove (you don't want to boil miso as it will destroy its flavor). Taste and serve. I will add soba next time, great idea to add some healthy carbs to the some. That makes for a one dish meal.

Florence

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