Miso is one of those ingredients that is not only tasty but packed with nutritional value. It has a salty taste and buttery texture. Miso is a fermented soybean paste which originated in Japan, however it is now becoming increasingly popular in the West as a versatile condiment for a host of different recipes. Once only found in specialty stores, miso is now available year round in most local supermarkets.
Although miso is usually made from soybeans, it can also be produced from rice, barley or wheat by adding a yeast mold (known as “koji”) and other ingredients that are allowed to ferment. The fermentation time, ranging from weeks to years, depends upon the specific type of miso being produced. Once this process is complete, the fermented ingredients are ground into a paste similar in texture to peanut butter.
Miso has been commonly recommended as a B12 source for vegans. It contains the trace minerals zinc, manganese, and copper. In addition, a single tablespoon of miso contains 2 grams of protein for just 25 calories. So you can use miso in your cooking instead of plain old salt and reap a variety of benefits in addition to enhanced flavor and nutrition.
This soup is just one of the ways that miso can be used. It is a simple soup, but tasty and packed full of nutrients. It is also great for weight watchers as it contains very little fat and few calories.
- 1½ teaspoons vegetarian dashi granules (available from good health food stores)
- 5 cups boiling water
- 5 ½ tablespoons miso
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 150g firm tofu
- 30g fresh wakame (or dried seaweed)
- 6 shitake mushrooms, soaked in water and then thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon drained pickled ginger, thinly sliced
Prepare stock by combining dashi and water in large heatproof bowl and stirring until dissolved.
Combine miso paste and 2/3 cup of the hot stock in a small heatproof bowl and stir until blended.
Simmer remaining stock in medium saucepan with soy sauce and then stir in miso.
Do not boil, but remove from heat as soon as it is hot.
Cut the tofu into 1cm cubes.
Divide wakame, mushrooms, pepper and tofu evenly among serving bowls.
Ladle broth into serving bowls.
Sprinkle with equal amounts of onion and ginger.
Note: Boiling the miso gives the soup an unappetising, cloudy appearance and ruins the nutritional value of the miso.