Miso Soup

A bowl of miso soup with wakame tofu and scallions.

Packed with umami-rich ingredients, miso soup is a Japanese mainstay. Though it’s commonly enjoyed for or with breakfast, heartier variations may be served for lunch or dinner. At its core miso soup consists of fermented soybean paste stirred into dashi—a delicate oceanic stock made with kombu (a type of sea kelp) and katsuobushi (a.k.a. bonito flakes), which is used extensively in Japanese cooking. The flavorful broth may be garnished with an array of ingredients, including daikon radishes, clams, dried seaweed, tofu, and more.

This simple miso soup recipe calls for silken tofu, scallions, and shiro miso (sometimes called sweet or white miso paste), which is made with both soybeans and rice, and offers a somewhat milder flavor than other types of miso, such as aka (red miso paste) or hatcho (a very dark, robust variety made exclusively with soybeans). (Read more in our guide to miso.) The resulting soup is balanced and complex, with generous cubes of soft tofu and tender but chewy pieces of rehydrated wakame seaweed. A garnish of thinly sliced green onions adds fresh bite to the dish. Try it with a classic Japanese breakfast spread of rice, eggs, fish, and pickles.

Ingredients

6 servings

½ cup dried wakame (a type of seaweed)
¼ cup shiro miso (white fermented-soybean paste)
6 cups Dashi
½ pound soft tofu, drained and cut into ½-inch cubes
¼ cup thinly sliced scallion greens

Preparation

  1. Step 1

    Combine wakame with warm water to cover by 1 inch and let stand 15 minutes, or until reconstituted. Drain in a sieve.

    Step 2

    Stir together miso and ½ cup Dashi in a bowl until smooth. Heat remaining dashi in a saucepan over moderately high heat until hot, then gently stir in tofu and reconstituted wakame. Simmer 1 minute and remove from heat. Immediately stir in miso mixture and scallion greens and serve.

    Editor’s note: The recipe was originally published in the May 2000 issue of ‘Gourmet’ and first appeared on Epicurious in August 2004. Head this way for more of our favorite Japanese soups 

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