Red Miso Soup

Red miso soup with mushrooms and fried tofu

Miso soup is a staple of the Japanese table eaten with meals from breakfast to dinner. Depending on the region of Japan you’re in, you might find yourself starring down at a steaming bowl of white miso soup with okra and taro, or a heady bowl of dark miso soup with deep fried tofu, bamboo and wild mushrooms. Growing up in California, I always looked forward to Saturday morning breakfasts because it meant my mom was making Japanese food for the two of us and western food for my sister and step-father.

As I mentioned in my last post, the dashi (stock) that you use to make miso soup is what makes or breaks the soup. There’s a recipe below for the dashi, or you can opt to use one of the 2 kinds of instant dashi.

I vary the ingredients based on what I have in my fridge, but you can put just about any veggie into this soup from carrots, to potatoes, to cabbage to bean sprouts.

Red Miso Soup

For Dashi
2 C water
10 niboshi with heads removed
1 3″ long piece of dried konbu

For Soup
1 Tbs + 1 Tsp red miso paste
1 Tsp Mirin
Handful of Nameko mushrooms (or Enoki)
2″ x 2″ piece of Abura Age (deep fried tofu) cut into small squares
1 scallion sliced thin

mitsuba (optional garnish)

For the dashi, simmer the ingredients over low heat for 10-15 minutes. If you have a teaball, or disposable tea bags, I like putting the niboshi in one so they’re easier to retrieve when the stock is done. Make sure it does not boil as this could make the soup cloudy or bitter. Taste it… it should be deep, slightly smoky and full of umami. Now just fetch all the floaties and your done with the dashi (you might need to run it through a strainer).

To make the soup, put the miso and mirin in a bowl and add some dashi to help disolve the miso. Put this mixture into the pot and bring it to a light simmer. Make sure it does not boil as this will make the miso separate.

Add the Aburaage (pronounced Abura-a-ge the middle “a” sounds like the “a” in “amish” and the “ge” sounds like the “ga” in “Gary”) and mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Sprinkle the scallions in at the very end just before you serve the soup.

Once it’s in the bowls you can add some Mitsuba. It’s a bit hard to find (you’ll have to go to a japanese grocery store), and there isn’t really a suitable replacement, but it adds a wonderful cedar aroma to the soup that carries you away to a misty evergreen forest.

  • http://www.leftoverqueen.com/ JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen

    Looks beautiful! Welcome to The Foodie Blogroll!

  • http://www.leftoverqueen.com JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen

    Looks beautiful! Welcome to The Foodie Blogroll!

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  • Ernest

    Chef Marc, I only have bonita flakes. How much do I use intead of the Niboshi? Is is to taste?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      I usually add a handful to about 3 cups of water. Maybe 20 grams or so? It’s also going to depend on the quality of your bonito. You don’t want to boil it too long or it will take on an odd taste. Bring the water to a boil, turn down the heat, then add the bonito and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. You can taste it to see if it’s strong enough and add more if water or bonito to adjust.

      • Ernest

        Thanks Chef Marc.
        I got everything that I needed. I ran into a small problem with my miso.
        I ate most of it right out of the jar, (Organic ranch shiro miso). I went back and got a couple of jars, just to be on the safe side.
        I came across some Hacho miso (it should be hatcho right?) This stuff is black, all soybean no other grains mixed in. Do you have any experience with it?
        Question on Dashi, can it last at least in the fridge?

        • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

          Hatcho miso is usually used for making things like nasu dengaku and even makes a great pan sauce for steak. It’s not really used for miso soup though. As for dashi, I usually us BPA-free plastic water bottles to store my dashi in the fridge. Just empty the water bottle(s) into a pot, make the dashi, then use a funnel to return the finished (and cooled) dashi back into the bottles and store them in the fridge. They should last for about a week.

  • chef albert

    chef how can i use red miso in italyn cooking?

Welcome!

I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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