A cloudy bowl of salty, umami-rich Miso Soup is just what winter ordered. And the homemade version couldn’t be simpler.
Sometimes, you need a simple soup. Not a hearty main soup like Yukgaejang or Budae Jjigae. Something light and mild. Something that can be put together quickly. With Asian pantry ingredients. Something that tastes good anytime of the day or night.
Miso Soup is that soup for me. Comforting. Delicious. Easy. If you can make instant noodles, you can make Homemade Miso Soup.
I eat Miso Soup for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack. It’s
What is Miso?
Miso is Japanese fermented soybean paste. Miso is salty, savory, and full of umami flavor.
There are different kinds of Miso. My favorite is Shiro Miso. A shorter fermentation period and higher rice content makes Shiro Miso mellow yet savory. It’s a mild basic that keeps forever in the fridge.
Miso is a fermented food so it’s packed with probiotic nutrition. The healthy bacteria in Miso aids the digestive process and contributes to overall gut health.
To that end, DO NOT BOIL Miso Soup. Boiling miso results in the loss of nutrition and flavor.
How to Make Homemade Miso Soup:
First, an optional step: make dashi.
What is dashi? Dashi is Japanese soup stock. Many Asian soup recipes require dashi stock the way Western recipes require chicken or vegetable stock. Dashi can be made from dried shrimp, mushrooms, anchovies, seaweed, and other ingredients. It adds a delicious layer of flavor.
There are several ways to make dashi. The fastest way is to use instant dashi granules. Think of it as chicken bullion cubes, in powdered form. Just a spoonful or two, stirred into hot water, does the trick.
Traditionally, dashi requires simmering a pot full of goodies in water. To make things easier, I like dashi packs. Dashi packs are individual-sized servings of dried goodies — kombu, mushroom, shrimp, scallop, anchovy, radish. Instead of buying each element separately, and adding to a big pot, dashi packets are handier and easier to throw into a pot.
(If you’re making this vegan, make sure to find a vegan dashi packet. The ingredients are listed on the back.)
Making dashi stock requires 10 minutes of simmering, then 20 minutes of steeping. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! (If you don’t have access to dashi, feel free to use water. It will still be tasty!)
Turn off the heat and whisk in the miso paste.
Add diced tofu and wakame (optional). Cover and let the residual heat warm everything through. Garnish with green onion, if desired. Eat immediately!
Enjoy and happy cooking, friends!
Homemade Miso Soup
- 4 cups water
- 2 Tbsp Miso Paste (not the low-sodium kind)
- 1 Tbsp dried seaweed (wakame) (optional)
- 1/2 block firm tofu (diced into 1/2 inch cubes, about 1 cup)
Dashi Stock (optional):
- Bring 4 cups of cold water to boil. Add 2 dashi packs and simmer (covered) for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for 20 more minutes. Remove dashi packs. Refrigerate or use immediately for Miso Soup.
- Bring dash stock or water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Turn off the heat and whisk in miso paste.
- Add tofu and dried seaweed/wakame, if using. Cover and let the residual heat gently warm the tofu and rehydrate the dried seaweed/wakame, about 5 minutes. If you like, gently reheat soup until steaming. MAKE SURE THE SOUP DOES NOT BOIL!!
- Garnish with green onion, if desired. Serve immediately.