I suspect there are almost as many ways to make Miso Soup as there are people who make Miso Soup.
Made with fermented soybeans and barley or rice, miso is thought to be one of the most protective of super foods. Its enzymes and microorganisms aid digestion, build healthy intestinal flora, and help keep undesirable flora in check.
Miso is a thick paste with a distinctive, savory, and (to me) almost wine-like flavor. Because the flavor is intense, a little bit in a recipe will go a long way.
Yellow miso is milder and sweeter than the stronger red or brown miso varieties. I prefer the rich, deep flavor of darker miso, which helps transform this soup into a meal.
Found in the refrigerated section of health food stores, my favorite is a brown rice miso made by Westbrae Natural, which contains only “cultured brown rice, organically grown whole soybeans, water, sea salt.” You’ll find shelf-stable varieties, too, but just label-read the ingredient list, because they aren’t all this pure.
Back to this Miso Soup, which is particularly soothing to the nerves after a long hard day…
Once all of the vegetables are tender, you’ll turn off the heat, and that’s the time to add in the miso paste, to keep all of its nutritional excellence intact.
To the finished miso broth, filled to the brim with vegetables, you’ll add 1 cup of seasoned, sautéed tofu (see below). Then just garnish with fresh cilantro, and ladle up a generous bowl of satisfying steamy goodness.
1 large sweet onion, diced
4 slices fresh ginger root, peeled, and minced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
4 cups shredded red cabbage, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 cup spicy tofu (recipe below*)
4 tablespoons brown rice miso
Optional: garnish with fresh cilantro
In a soup pot, sauté diced onion and ginger in a few splashes of water (to prevent sticking) for 3 to 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the carrots, celery, cabbage, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer covered for about 15 or 20 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Remove from heat.
Place miso in a bowl, add a little of the broth from the soup, and stir to form a smooth paste. Add a little more broth to thin, and then stir the miso mixture into the soup. Add 1 cup of the spicy tofu to the soup. Allow to rest for a few minutes to warm all the way through. Garnish with cilantro, and serve in large soup bowls.
* Spicy Tofu
1 package extra firm tofu, diced or crumbled
several generous splashes Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
several generous splashes hot sauce (I like the Cholula brand)
Heat a large skillet with 1/4 cup of water. Add tofu to the pan and brown slightly, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle to taste with Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and hot sauce. Continue to cook until lightly browned. Turn off heat and set aside.