The health benefits and the recipe of our delicious miso soup
The health benefits of miso soup
Miso’s amazing properties
Japanese people are eating miso soup at every meal, even breakfast and at every season. This gluten free free digestive soup is famous for its health benefits. Miso is rich in essential minerals and a good source of various B vitamins (including B12), vitamins E, K and folic acid. Moreover, the fermentation process used to produce miso makes it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients it contains and helps improve digestion. Some studies found that miso may reduce the risk of certain cancer, like stomach cancer. Finally, miso soup is typically very low in calories. In short, you must try it!
To preserve miso health benefits, don’t over cook it and don’t make it boil. It’s recommended to add it at the end, after turning off the fire. Miso is also very salty. Thus, if you're watching your salt intake, you may want to ask your health care practitioner before adding large quantities to your diet.
But what is miso exactly?
This traditional Japanese condiment consists of a thick paste made from soybeans that have been fermented with salt and a koji starter. The starter usually contains the Aspergillus oryzae fungus. It’s taste is so unique that Japanese invented a fifth word (in addition to salty, sweet, sour and bitter) to describe its flavour : « Umami ». Miso provide an instant flavour fondation for other ingredients. With tofu, that has a neutral taste, it’s the perfect match!
Different varieties of miso
There is so many varieties of miso that I would be difficult to list them all. But here are the main ones:
Shiro miso (white miso) is light in colour and sweet to mildly salty. It’s very popular in Kyoto.
Aka miso (red miso) is made from a higher proportion of soybeans. It’s saltier and deeper in flavour. Soybeans are mixed with rice or barley. It’s the most common in Japan.
Pure soybeans miso, mame-miso or hatcho-miso. Its taste is strong and less salty.
At home, we are using an aka miso made with rice called kome miso.
I promised on Instagram that I will share our miso soup recipe, so here it is! My husband's recipe is simple (once you have all the ingredients) and really tasty. I'm lucky, Shu (my husband) is a true Chef. And he is particularly talented to prepare broth. Are you ready to cook a very comforting, healthy and nourishing miso soup?
Miso (fermented soy beans paste)
Dashi (an aromatic broth made of konbu (dried seaweeds and/or dried bonito (fish). You can buy it in powder in Japanese or Asian stores or you can make you own).
Momen tofu (plain hard tofu). From 130 g to 230 g.
Vegetables. We are usually using carrots, leek and daikon (Japanese white radish). But sometimes we can use only mushrooms.
Sake (cheap one, made to cook, is perfect. It's not mandatory BUT this is my husband secret ingredient).
Put some water in a pan (not too much or it's gonna overflow). Add dashi powder in it (around two tea spoon). Add sake (two rounds) and start heating it up.
In the meanwhile, start preparing vegetables. Cut the carrots and daikon into thin slices. Cut those slices in two or four pieces. Then, cut the leek in thicker slices. It will give a nice taste to the soup. If you don't have leek you can use onions. Once all the vegetables are ready, add them in the hot water, even if it's not boiling yet.
Cut the momen tofu into squares and add it to the soup.
Let cook the vegetables during 10 or 15 minutes according to how you like to eat them (crunchy or tender). When the vegetables are cooked, turn off the fire. Wait for the water to stop boiling and then add the miso paste (to preserved the miso health benefits, don't boil it). You can add around 3 big tablespoons of miso and stir it in the soup. Be careful, miso paste is very salty so don't forget to taste it after every spoon you add. Adjust according to your taste.
Voilà, your miso soup is ready ! No need to add salt, pepper or anything else. The soup is already seasoned. You can keep it in your fridge during 48 hours.
I hope you enjoyed the explanations and you want to cook your own miso soup. You can of course change the toppings as much as you want. Some people enjoy broccoli or squash in their soup. The recipe I shared is more “traditional” but please, be creative if you want to! Let me know in the comment section if you have any questions or if you tried the recipe.
Mata ne, (See you soon, in Japanese)
PS : I put a lot of vegetables and tofu inside the bowl for the need of the picture (to be able to see them at the surface) but of course, you don’t have to put that much ;)