Miso Soup

Miso Soup at Home

Once I got into making homemade dashi, I knew I wanted to tackle miso soup.

My husband loves miso soup. For years, I wasn't a fan. I didn't dislike or hate miso soup, I just found it boring, salty, and uninspired. I'd give him my bowl at sushi or hibachi restaurants and think nothing of it. Then, I had a life changing miso soup experience at Nobu in New York City. The miso soup was rich in flavor, yet mind-blowingly light in body. The soup was so simple, the only special addition was clams (another one of my non-favorites that I couldn't get enough of in the soup) yet the complexity and umami just changed everything I thought I knew about miso soup.

Miso soup is one of those oddly complex dishes that is so simple to make, yet so easy to mess up. All it is is dashi, miso, tofu and scallions to garnish. With so few ingredients, you've got to really pay attention to proportions and the quality of your ingredients. I make my homemade dashi to my taste and add miso to my taste. It turns out, I like less miso in my miso soup than my husband. No big deal, since each bowl can be made and seasoned separately.

You've got to start by making dashi. Keep it warm on a low burner while you put your soup together. First, take just 1/4 cup of the dashi in a small bowl and add a few tblsp of miso paste, mixing to get a "slurry" that will more easily incorporate into your soup. Then, place cubes of tofu (some people like silken, some people like firm, I go right in the middle) in the bottom of your bowl. Ladle over the hot dashi, mix in a few spoonfuls of the miso slurry, garnish with sliced scallions, and you are ready to eat.

Miso and dashi
Mixed into a slurry

Truth be told, the miso availble in the US is not the greatest stuff in the world. It doesn't hold a candle to the quality of miso available in Japan. I keep trying brands and styles, but my advice is to find a brand you like, and not to be afraid of mixing misos to get the exact flavor you want.  

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