If you’ve had miso soup before, it’s probably been at a Japanese restaurant. Many restaurants use veggie stock or something other than dashi because it’s cheaper, and most Americans don’t know the difference anyway. I’m here to tell you that you’ve been lied to all these years. Miso soup, made the right way, takes comfort food to a new level.
Most recipes on the internet will also cheat you out of the real thing by using vegetable stock or instant dashi. Don’t do it. There is a distinct difference between “fast miso soup” and the real deal. I’m a fan of doing things the right way. Let us begin.
1/2 c. bonito flakes (dried fish flakes)
4″ piece of dried kombu (kelp)
4 c. water
3 Tbsp. white or yellow miso paste
1 tsp. dried wakame (seaweed)
6 oz. firm tofu, cut into small cubes
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3-4 fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced (optional)
Colander and cheesecloth
You can find the bonito flakes, miso paste, kombu, and wakame at Asian supermarkets or Whole Foods.
Dashi is the name of the fish stock you’re about to make.
Put water into a pot over low heat.
Add the kombu to the water. Stir gently and then let it be.
Let the water and kombu warm together in the pot.
While the water is warming, slice you green onions and mushrooms, and cube your tofu. Set aside.
Just before the water comes to a boil, remove the kombu and discard.
When water comes to a boil, remove from heat and add bonito flakes.
Cover pot and allow flakes to steep and sink to the bottom (10-15 min.)
Strain dashi through 2-3 layers of cheesecloth to remove the flakes.
Note: If you allow the water to boil while the kelp is still in the pot, the stock will become bitter and unusable.
Rinse out the pot you just used to make sure all the bonito flakes are gone.
Add 1 cup of the dashi back to the pot.
Whisk in miso paste until well-incorporated.
Add the rest of the dashi back to the pot.
Stir until uniform.
Add tofu and wakame. Stir gently to combine.
If it’s cooled, warm the soup until it is serving temperature.
Pour into bowls. Top with a sprinkle of onions and mushrooms.
So there you have it – real miso soup. It’s delicious and homey, total comfort food, something to warm the tummy on a cold, rainy day.