Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Miso Soup Recipe, my Mom's style

I've had a few requests for a Miso Soup Recipe. Now, let me tell you... I learned how to cook from my Mom, who just throws in a bit of this and a grab of that. No formal recipe cards what-so-ever! So here is my rendition of it:

6 or 7 "Niboshi" Dried Anchovies/Dried Sardines(found at Asian markets)
1/2 oz (about 2 TBS) Dried Wakame (seaweed, also found at Asian markets)
1/2 pack of Firm Tofu (not Extra Firm. I try to buy organic whenever possible)
4~5 TBS of Miso Paste (or to taste)
A few stalks Chives or Green onions (optional)

1. Soak the Wakame to it's original state in a bowl of cold water. Rinse lightly and drain. Cut the Wakame into approximately 1" squares if the pieces seem big. Then set aside
2. Open Tofu pack and drain water. Rinse the tofu, then cut it into small cubes about 1/2"~3/4"(your preference), set aside.
3. Break off the head and gut from the dried fish (leaving it on makes the broth bitter). I prefer the smaller ones, each fish less than 2" long. Add more fish, if you want a strong broth.*
3. Chop the green onion into thin rings, set aside.

1. In a medium saucepan, fill it halfway and bring to a boil.
2. Once the water boils, drop in the dried anchovies and let it simmer for at least 5 minutes. Some people use a pouch to hold the fish and scoop out the pouch for easy removal. I just use a small sieve. (My pets love the discarded boiled fish)
3. Add in miso paste slowly, I usually put the miso paste on the ladle, add in the boiling broth while placing it in the pot and dissolving it into the hot water with chopsticks. Taste as you go so you don't over-do the saltiness.
4. Add in tofu cubes, then let it simmer until the broth bubbles a bit.
5. Sprinkle in the green onions. (optional)
6. Serve hot in a small rounded bowl

*A lot of people, in Japan use "Ajinomoto" in place of this traditional fish broth. My family chooses not to because "Ajinomoto" is just a fancy name for MSG. (google "MSG Neurotoxin" and you'll find all the evils of it)

The photos are just for reference. I don't necessarily buy those brands. I usually look for the organic label. Japanese organic label looks like THIS. (Green with a leaf and JAS text.)

A variation on this basic soup is up to your imagination. I've used other veggies, such as daikon radish, carrots and kale. (It's a great way to get the kids to eat veggies) If you are using veggies, julienne them, and add them in after you finish making the broth and cook for about 2 minutes. (between Cooking step 2 and 3) I've used the kale as replacement for Wakame, when I am out of the seaweed.



dave said...

I really like miso soup. Are sardines typical for making the broth?


AJK said...

Hi Dave, Thanks for dropping by! For miso soup, yes it's typical to use "niboshi" which I think are either sardines or anchovies. I forget which. They are small little fish. There are other types of broth, like shaved Bonito flake broth, but that will give you a really different flavor. I guess if you are vegetarian, you can do the Kombu broth too:

If you don't like fish, you can do the MSG stuff, but I wouldn't eat that stuff or touch it with a 10 ft pole.

Anne said...

YAY!! ty for the recipe! Miso soup and beef barley stew are my family's ultimate favorites.

Using kale, brilliant! I can't wait to try making this.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for sharing this. I love miso.

And thank you for the comment on my blog. You are right baby steps is the best way.