Updated: Feb 3, 2022
Miso soup must be the most popular dish in Japan. At least half the Japanese population drink miso soup three times or more every week. That's a smart thing to do because miso soup is high in protein and low in fat. There are lots of health claims made about miso that I shan't go into here but if you are looking for a non-animal source of protein you cannot do much better than this recipe. The two key ingredients in a classic miso soup are Japanese dashi stock and miso. As such, it shouldn't be a difficult dish to prepare well although I am always amazed that some restaurants particularly at the low/mid-range end of the price scale sell miso soup that is nothing more than a spoonful of miso stirred into boiling water with a few morsels of rehydrated seaweed. Well, Japan's most consumed meal really does deserve better and it isn't at all difficult to produce a quick, tasty and healthy miso soup in your own kitchen in no time at all. I simply added some cubes of fresh silk tofu, spring onions and some sesame seeds for more protein and nutrition. That's all. In 15 minutes you can have a delicious soup that is sustaining enough for lunch with a bowl of rice or you can serve this as a part of a bigger dinner dish.
As I said above, the two basic ingredients of any miso soup are dashi stock and miso. The best dashi stock is the one you prepare yourself but if you haven't the time or the inclination to do that, then there are some other options you can try that will give you a great tasting miso soup. The picture on the right shows you one of Japan's leading brands of instant stock - Ajinomoto. This is the easiest way to get yourself a great tasting stock for your miso soup. I used some Ajinomoto below and, I assure you, you won't be disappointed with the flavour that these granules produce. You don't need to use too much to produce a decent, subtly flavoured base for your miso soup. I usually use a heaped 1/2 teaspoon per person.
If you want to move a little further up the scale, you could consider using a stock bag instead of instant granules. These bags require a little more effort than granules but not much. The stock they produce is, in my opinion, better than a stock prepared with granules - but, as they say, you get what you pay for. Dashi stock bags are expensive compared to instant stock granules so I tend to reserve them for those occasions when I want to go the extra mile in search of some quality flavour.
Of course, no self respecting Japanese cook should be with out their own dashi stock recipe. Take a look at the Soups & Stocks section of my website and you'll find a number of stocks that you can make yourself including stocks that are vegan and vegetarian friendly.
As for the miso component of your soup, there are many varieties to choose from online these days and most of them will produce a good miso soup. The taste of your soup will differ depending on whether you choose a "white" or "red" miso. For this recipe I used Marukome brand Marunouchi red miso but use a different brand by all means. I like this particular miso because it produces a good depth of flavour and also contains no additives. Using a "white" miso will tend to produce a lighter, more delicate flavour in your soup.
Last but by no. means least, I added some tofu to my soup along with some finely chopped spring onions and sesame seeds. The spring onions and sesame seeds go in after the heat has been turned off, so you need to chop finely so that the spring onion just softens a little in the heat of the soup - you want some body left though to contrast with the softness of the silk tofu.
And that's it. If you want a simple, nourishing soup that is ready in just minutes, there is nothing better than this. If you would like to try this recipe out. You can find the written "how to" below. The Youtube tutorial can be found by clicking Miso Soup with Tofu or just scroll to the bottom of the page.
Happy cooking! Kurumi XXXX.
Miso soup with Tofu.
(2 - 3 servings)
500ml / 16 fl oz water
1 heaped teaspoon of Japanese dashi stock granules
2 tbsps Japanese miso
180g / 6.5 oz silk tofu,
2 spring onions, rinsed
1 heaped teaspoon of toasted sesame seeds
halve the spring onions and chop them finely
slice and dice the tofu into 1 cm cubes
(if you don't use the whole pack, you can keep the leftover tofu in water in the fridge for a couple of days)
pour the water into a saucepan. add the Japanese dashi stock granules and the diced tofu
bring to the boil and simmer for 1 min
using a small sieve or a ladle to prevent the tofu cubes breaking up, dissolve the miso into the stock
once the miso has dissolved, turn off the heat. add the chopped spring onions and sesame seeds
your soup is now ready to serve