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Recipe: miso soup

As some of you know, we will be welcoming a little friend into the house in a few weeks. Once she gets here, Jeremy and I shall be puppy bound for a little while. Our plan is to work (and play) with her intensively in the early months to get her off to a good start. We feel that Kaweah was really great in some ways, and really really not good in other respects. We fault ourselves for that, although Kaweah had a blast regardless. It’s the rolling-gleefully-in-poop that I’d like to avoid with the next pup. Oh, and perhaps having her come when called. But to do all of this, we’ve doubled up on our workloads for the past couple of months to clear the summer for puppy. In doing so, Jeremy kinda ran himself ragged and for the last week has been fighting off a sore throat, congestion, and basically – The Man Cold. Since May has been acting like March (and March totally pretended it was May), a nice pot of hot soup has been perfect for both of us.

One thing I look forward to whenever I sit down at a sushi bar is a bowl of miso soup. This is particularly true after a day spent in the snow (on skis, of course!). I can feel the heat travel down into my belly and radiate out toward my cold hands, toes, and nose. But it’s rare that we get to hit up a sushi bar after getting some turns, because 1) we live in the sticks and 2) we aren’t made of money. That said, it is so simple to make your own miso soup at home and it tastes every bit as delicious as the restaurant version.

green onion, dried wakama (seaweed), shiro miso, hondashi, water, soft tofu

I can find all of these ingredients in my local Whole Foods store, with the exception of the hondashi. The hondashi requires a trip to the Asian market, where you can find all of these ingredients – but maybe not organic. Shiro miso is white miso paste. You can also use yellow or red miso, depending on the flavor you want to achieve. The darker the color of the miso, the more intense the flavor. I prefer the more delicate flavor of the white miso – and I also happen to have a ton of it in my refrigerator. Hondashi is instant bonito (skipjack tuna) soup stock. I keep a jar of the hondashi granules in my refrigerator. You only need a little bit to make dashi, but it is the bulk of the soup. Without dashi, the miso soup tastes rather flat and uninspired.

slicing the tofu into little cubes

measured and prepped

Wakame is a delicate, almost velvety seaweed that takes about 5-10 minutes to rehydrate in cold water. The seaweed is slightly sweet and not too intense as seaweeds go. While the wakame soaks in cold water, you can get the dashi started by mixing the granules into a pot of hot water. Whisk a small amount of the dashi into the miso paste. This helps to thin the consistency of the miso, otherwise it clumps when you add it to the soup.

soak the wakame in cold water

add hondashi granules to a pot of hot water

stir a little of the heated dashi into the miso paste

the seaweed should be ready to drain

Your soup is almost ready! Add the tofu and seaweed to the dashi and bring it to a simmer for a couple of minutes. I prefer soft tofu in my miso soup (it works with this whole theme of “delicate” flavors and textures), but you can use silken, soft, firm, extra-firm, or none at all – whatever suits your tastes. If you do use silken or soft tofu, be aware that they can “break” easily, so handle them with care. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in your miso. That didn’t take long at all!

add tofu and seaweed to the dashi

stir the miso into the soup

top with green onions

This comes together in minutes and the result is a satisfying, warm, savory bowl of miso soup. Since miso paste, dried wakame, and hondashi granules store well for a long time (the miso and hondashi in the refrigerator), it’s easy enough for me to whip up a pot of miso soup when I get a hankering!

soup is on

Miso Soup
[print recipe]

3 tbsps dried wakame (seaweed)
6 cups water
1 tbsp hondashi granules
1/4 cup shiro miso (white miso)
8 oz. tofu (I use soft tofu), diced into 1/2-inch cubes
2-3 green onions, thinly sliced

Note: If you make your own dashi, substitute 6 cups of dashi for the hondashi granules and the water).

Soak the wakame (seaweed) in cold water for 10 minutes. In a medium saucepan, boil 6 cups of water. Remove from heat and stir in the hondashi granules until completely dissolved (this is your dashi). Whisk or stir 1/2 cup of the dashi into the miso paste until smooth. Drain the seaweed. Add the tofu and seaweed to the pot of dashi and simmer the soup for 2 minutes on medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Stir in the miso. Garnish with green onions. Serve hot. Serves 4-6.

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  1. kb says:

    Love your blog! I found it accidentally while searching for recipes long ago. I still check in every few months for updates and recipes. Keep on being awesome! From a reader in AZ. :)

  2. Chefhelen says:

    I look forward to seeing pics of the new four footed baby!

  3. Trish says:

    I second what Chefhelen said and can’t wait for the puppy pictures. Your soup looks awesome, Jen, and the presentation is beautiful.

  4. JaneM says:

    I am certain I consumed gallons of miso soup during my childhood (my mother was Japanese). Absolutely love it. Her finishing touch was a big scoop of hot rice. I still follow this practice and I also drop in a raw egg while the soup is simmering. Truly comfort food and good for whatever ails ya. Sometimes, I sprinkle in a bit of cayenne because I like the heat. I also look forward to pictures of your new family member. Nothing sweeter than puppy love.

  5. Louise says:

    Cannot wait for the little one to arrive!

  6. Tess says:

    Love your blog and photos of your “backyard.” What a wonderful life!

  7. jill says:

    Hope Jeremy is feeling better. I know you know how to get ahold of a good medical doctor, if needed! Don’t hesitate to call.

    Glad you are taking the time to instill manners and obedience training in your little one. So important for her safety and others. Leave It, are wonderful words. xo,j

  8. Cindi says:

    I’m so happy to have this recipe ~ I needed a good miso soup recipe a few months ago when family was visiting from CA and our Aunt was feeling poorly. All she wanted was miso soup! (Hope Jeremy is feeling better!)
    You are SO smart to clear your calendars for puppy training. It’s a gift to have them when they are young and they know nothing but your way of doing things. (And we do learn with each pup – what to do and what not to do! =) ) Adopting our two at 6 years old I’ve learned the hard way that breaking some old habits – or lack of any training at all – can be challenging. But “old” dogs can learn new tricks and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
    It’s going to be so fun following your journey with baby boo!! =)

  9. Kim says:

    Puppy breath is one of my favorite things!

  10. Lisa says:

    We love miso soup a lot but every time I made it, it did not taste the same as it was in the sushi place. When I read your recipe I know that hondashi was missing in my soup. So happy finally I should be able to make the miso soup the right way. :-).

  11. jenyu says:

    kb – thank you! xo

    Chefhelen – :)

    Trish – thanks, we can’t wait either!!

    JaneM – mmm, those sound like nice additions to miso. And yes, we cannot wait to share the little puppy with everyone!

    Louise – same here!

    Tess – thank you, so sweet!

    jill – he’s all better now, but thank you! So true – “leave it” saved Kaweah from MANY a bad tummy trip…

    Cindi – thank you, my friend <3 I know you've worked hard with your pups. You're an inspiration xo

    Kim - ha ha!

    Lisa - yes, I'll get you a jar of it when I see you next month, Mom. xo

  12. Vanessa F says:

    My son and I are making this for ourselves this weekend, when the rest of the family is out :) FYI, I just found Hondashi granules at my local Wegman’s today! They had the miso, too, so it saved me a trip to Whole Foods

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