I first became aware of miso during my stint as a vegetarian in the 1970’s. It was long before there was a sushi joint in every strip mall and hibachi restaurants hosting children’s birthday parties. To try recipes with miso at home, we had to buy a Japanese cookbook because there was no internet to search. It was truly the Dark Ages.
An e-newsletter from Food & Wine Magazine links me to a recipe for miso soup with turmeric and tofu and my miso soup quest begins. While the recipe starts with making vegetable broth from scratch, I decide buying ready-made is easier and add it to my grocery list along with white miso and tofu.
Veggie stock and tofu were easy to find in my local supermarket, but miso, though it may have been hiding somewhere in the store’s 45,000 square feet of space, could not be located. Not to worry. With Amazon Prime, I order it online with free shipping and get it in a couple of days.
I followed the recipe pretty closely except for the store-bought vegetable stock but was not happy with the result. Even though I like turmeric, especially as an ingredient in curry powder, in combination with miso it just didn’t make the cut. So it’s on to more internet reading and other recipe ideas.
During my reading, I remember that most of the miso soup I’ve ordered in restaurants has seaweed in it. A little more searching tells me that there are different types of edible seaweed used for different applications. Nori comes in sheets and is the type that’s used to make sushi. What I need for my miso soup is called wakame. It’s another ingredient that’s easier to buy online than to hunt down in the supermarket. Amazon Prime is turning out to be a great way to stock the pantry.
My eagerly awaited wakeme has arrived and I’m excited to try another batch of soup. The colorful seaweed package is delightful with its Japanese writing on it. The dehydrated seaweed is dark and crunchy. The spoonful I’ve taken to reconstitute seems too small so I add another three-finger pinch. Just add a half cup of hot water and watch it grow…and grow. And expand to much more than I need for two cups of soup!
There were some dissenting views about using broth for miso soup so my second round is made by dissolving the miso paste in hot water. I add tofu, scallions, and only some of the over-abundant wakame. This batch is better than the first but a little watery and not quite there yet. Let’s hope the third time’s a charm.
For round three, I’m back to vegetable broth but this time diluted with 50% water. I’ve got a better handle on reconstituting the wakame and the proportions of miso, tofu, and scallions are tweaked to satisfaction. The third iteration is a winner in our book.
Since this is a quick and easy recipe, I found it better to only make the portion we plan to eat, rather than making a large batch that lasts several days as I do with other soups. For this reason, the recipe is tailored to two servings of one cup (8 ounces) each.
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons white miso paste
- 1 teaspoon dried wakame
- ¼ cup of tofu, cubed
- 1 tablespoon scallion, chopped
- Reconstitute the seaweed in warm water. Drain off excess water.
- Pour the broth and water into a pot and bring to a boil.
- Ladle out approximately a half cup of hot broth and dissolve the miso in it using a whisk.
- Pour the miso back into the pot and add the tofu, seaweed, and scallions. Simmer for one or two additional minutes until the ingredients are hot. Don’t overcook.