味噌汁 Miso Soup by Mr. Tess

Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup based on dashi stock mixed with softened miso paste.
Good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, miso soup is a comfort food.

Dashi is essential for Japanese cooking. It is usually a clear, non-oily fish stock used for soups, simmered dishes, salad dressings, and marinades. Dashi provides the subtle umami that is the foundation of Japanese cuisine. Dashi can be made with kelp (kombu), dried bonito (katsuobushi), dried baby sardines (niboshi), dried shiitake mushrooms, or a combination of two or three of these ingredients.

Links to dashi recipes: * katsubushi dashi * niboshi dashi * vegetarian dashi *

Miso is a paste of fermented soybeans and grains—salty-tangy, full of umami, and the yeast culture is full of friendly microflora (beneficial bacteria) to help you digest and assimilate nutrients.
Depending on which grains and other ingredients are fermented along with the soybeans, the miso paste will develop a different taste and the texture. The length of time the paste is allowed to ferment (from 1 month to 3 years) affects its color and how salty it will taste.

Genmai – soybeans and brown rice

Hatcho – soybeans and sea salt

Kome – soybeans and white rice

Mugi – soybeans and barley

Natto – soybeans and ginger

White – very light flavor. Best for light cooking and summer soups.
Yellow – a bit saltier and stronger than White. A good intensity for moderate soups and sauces.
Red – saltier and stronger in flavor than Yellow. Favored for winter soups.
Dark Brown or Black – very strong flavor and smell. Best for rich cooking, such as with meat or stews.
Blending different types of miso can make a concoction
that is more interesting than either one alone.

miso soup with salmon recipe

Mr. Tess often cooks, but rarely cooks Japanese foods. We, neither of us, were feeling great. I suggested miso soup with salmon (which was in the freezer—neither of us wanting to go to the store). So I gave him some instructions and had a nap while he produced a lovely meal.
miso soup with salmon recipe

Dice a small potato or two, and cook until tender in the broth. Soak some wakame in tepid water. Drain and add just before serving. Broil the salmon until just cooked. Slice and reserve until just before serving. Heat the stock, and dissolve the miso in a cup with a little of the hot liquid. Don’t boil again, just add and heat the ingredients.

Here is a lovely article featuring Hiroko Shimbo making miso soup. I’m sure you will find it most charming and inspiring.

Many ingredients can be added to miso soup depending on regional and seasonal recipes, and personal preferences.
Swiss chard, tofu, chicken, seafood of all kinds, sliced pork, udon, toban jiang, cabbage, scallions, carrots, mushrooms, sesame oil, sweet potato, daikon, corn, soy milk, ginger, eggplant…

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15 thoughts on “味噌汁 Miso Soup by Mr. Tess

  1. Haha I think my bosses handwriting is worse, I can actually read this up here! I thought Mr. Tess was practising Spanish cuisine? (I had 2 lovely dinnerparties again this wknd; 1 Greek & 1 “exotic”…. it’s becoming to much for me to blog about ;)

    Hope you both feel better and thx very much for this post, great explanation.

    • Yes, he uses the 1080 Recetas de Cocina for inspiration. So now he has miso soup in his repertoire. Many talents. It seems handwriting is a dying art—since computers my writing doesn’t get much practice.

      As for blogging and cooking, you can see how many posts I made the first year. The subsequent years, the numbers drop. It’s March and one can still see posts from January on my front page…

      Miso soup is always good for what ails, and so much simpler than chicken soup. ≥^!^≤

  2. I enjoyed your clear definitions about the different miso names. The other day I saw a big bag of dried baby sardines in the store and had wished I knew how to cook with them. I always make Dashi with Bonito flakes. If I get those sardines, how do I turn them into dashi?

    • Ah, the links to recipes are not very clear in the post:
      https://1tess.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/niboshi-dashi-dried-sardine-broth/

      As for names of misos, yikes! When you go to buy one, you’ll find that they may be different: there are so many different kinds. It’s really confusing because I’ve noticed more “mixed” miso, where two or more different miso are blended: awasemiso. A sort of “prepared” food because you can very well mix up your own flavor to taste.

      If you see Saikyo miso grab it! It’s a specific sweet white miso. It’s hard to find here, but so delicate and sweet…

  3. I went to a Japanese shop yesterday, forgot my wallet so only bought some rice noodles, but past through the store with this post on my Iphone in my hand (bless technology), you gave me clarity while shopping! Everything up here was in the store, and you made everything more clear to me! :)

    Maybe you should consider writing a book? Your explanatory style is great (you’d be a good teacher!), don’t let her hear this ……ssssst…. but for me even more clear than Mrs Shimbo’s way of explaining…

  4. Hi I was wondering is there a way to make Miso soup without soy? I have a soy/dairy allergy so many dishes i can’t eat unless i can substitute something else. Do you have any dishes you can recommend to me? Thanks

  5. Hi Anna,

    I have never tried any sort of non-soy miso (miso is made with soybeans), but if you Google that term here is one site (among many) that comes up:
    http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/resourcespre.php?id=90&#miso
    But following that link, I don’t see what might suit your dietary needs—likely I’m just might be missing something. Perhaps making your own miso with koji pastw using rice?

    It would be different, but what if you added to the dashi, a small amount of anchovies and a small amount of tomato paste. A Tablespoon? It would not be the same as miso soup, but it would have some of the umami taste. Assuming you can eat fish…

  6. Thanks for getting back to me ^_^.That sounds good. I will google it. Maybe making my own would be the best route to go. Do you know if there are any Japanese Dishes that you’ve tried that don’t require soy?

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