Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, a nourishing soup is an essential dish served at every Japanese meal. Miso soup is perhaps the best known and well liked by foreigners all over the world. This soup was first introduced to the West in 1960s and has enjoyed recognition for good health and longevity ever since.
This authentic soup is prepared based on dashi, the ubiquitous stock of Japanese cuisine. Typically dashi is made from kombu (dried kelp) seaweed, niboshi (dried small sardines), katsuo-bushi (dried bonito flakes) or dried shiitake mushrooms.
If you’re pressed for time, instant dashi either in granules or powder form is also available at stores. Use 1 teaspoon for 3 to 5 cups of water and follow the instructions on package. However, I was told by my strict mother-in-law to make it the old fashioned way, no cheating. Trust me, it just taste much better than instant.
I shall use niboshi dashi for this recipe. To make the dashi, you’ll need 20 grams of niboshi and 4 cups of water.
Gut and remove the heads of niboshi. Rinse and soak them in a deep pot for about 45 minutes. On a medium heat, let it boil gradually. When it’s boiling, reduce heat and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Skim off any foam that rises to the top. Remove from heat and strain.
You can keep any unused portion in an airtight Tupperware and refrigerate.
Now, once you’re done with that, you’re ready to make tofu miso soup. You’ll need
1 block of soft silken tofu, cubed.
3 to 4 tablespoon of miso paste which is easily found in Asian aisles at your local supermarket. They stay fresh in the fridge for months and a packet usually last you a long time. Miso paste is actually fermented soybean paste that is rich in friendly Lactobacillus Acidophilus bacteria needed to keep your gut healthy. It is believed that isoflavones in soybean also cut women’s risk of developing breast cancer.
2 stalks of scallion sliced diagonally about half inch piece. As I don’t like the strong smell and taste, what I usually do is run them under water to wash out a bit of the smell.
Put dashi stock in a pan and bring to boil. Add tofu cubes and simmer for a few minutes on low heat. Scoop up some stock and dissolve miso paste in it. Pour into soup gradually while stirring. Do not allow it to boil. Remove from heat at once. Garnish with scallions.
It’s quite easy to prepare once you get the steps right. Now, how about a bowl of piping hot miso soup for a healthy lunch?