in the kitchen

in the kitchen

Monday, October 26, 2015

Easy Miso Soup

Fast and flexible, this Miso Soup is my go to lunch when I'm working from home. I use what veggies I have on hand although my favorites are baby portabellos and snow peas. This recipe is easily scalable so you can feed yourself or a full crew. I try to keep some firm tofu in the fridge just for this soup but have made it without tofu and still enjoyed.
Easy Miso Soup
For each portion:
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup sliced veggies, (mushrooms and snow peas preferred)
2 to 3 ounces firm tofu, diced
1 1/4 cups water, divided
2 to 3 teaspoons miso paste, red or white
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger root, optional
Chives or green onions for garnish
red pepper flakes, optional
Heat a sauce pan over medium high heat. Pour oil in pan, stir in veggies and cook for a minute. Add tofu and cook another minute or two, stirring occasionally, until the tofu begins to brown a bit. Pour in 1 cup of water, stir to loosen any of the fond on the bottom of the pan and bring to a simmer. Using a micro plainer, grate ginger into the soup. Make a slurry with the remaining water and miso paste. When soup is simmering, turn off heat and stir in the miso slurry. Transfer to bowl and garnish with chives or green onions and red pepper flakes.
Hints: Storing sesame oil in the fridge increased its shelf life, it remains liquid and easy to use even when chilled. Peanut oil is a good alternative but any oil will be fine. I have used asparagus, carrot, celery, eggplant, parsnip, peppers, spinach and zucchini as veggies in this soup and they were all good. Shred, dice or chop to produce small enough pieces that cook quickly and they will work beautifully. To store tofu successfully, transfer to an air tight container and cover with water. Changing the water daily will keep the tofu fresh for a week after opening the package. Miso paste is available in most grocery stores, (Smiths, Whole Foods etc) and will keep for several months in the fridge. The red variety is my favorite for this soup. Two tricks when using miso for soup: 1) making a slurry will ensure quick, even distribution 2) don't boil the soup after adding the miso slurry. The ginger adds a bright note to the flavor profile and I keep a knob frozen so it is easy to grate into the soup. I love to pluck some fresh chive from my garden for the garnish but the green onion is a great choice as well. And of course, I use a healthy shake of crushed red pepper flakes because I like my soup spicy. Tofu and miso are good sources of probiotics; the ginger also aids digestion.
I started making miso soup with Trader Joe's miso ginger broth and liked it so much that I wanted to learn how to make it from scratch. That broth is a good product but I wanted a bit more umami "oomph" so I moved on to making my own, adjusting the flavors until it was just what I wanted. I love how quickly this homemade soup comes together and how satisfying a meal it is. 

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