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Recipe: Enoki Miso Soup

Miso is traditionally made by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji-mold; the fermentation results in a paste that can be used in marinades, sauces, salad dressings, soups, desserts, or any other kind of dish you can think of.  Adding miso improves the  flavor profile by adding dimension and meatiness.  The meatiness it creates is called umami, which is now considered another flavor (like salty, sour, bitter or sweet) and is best described as savory, full-bodied flavor.  It’s like the meatiness of portabella mushrooms.

The color of miso can range from white, to brown to red.  The texture varies from chunky to smooth and the strength varies from mildly salty and sweet to very salty and strong.  In general, color is a good indication of flavor and salt levels.  In general, the lighter it is, the sweeter it is.

In my experience, you get what you pay for with miso so it’s not worth it to cut corners.  Also, the Japanese have been making miso for over 1,300 year and they know how to make it best!  The Japanese brands I’ve found (widely available at Whole Foods or Fairway) taste better than American-made miso.  No offense, America.

If miso is unopened, it’ll keep for a long time.  However, even after you open it, it can last up to a year in your fridge – giving you a long time to experiment!  When first begin experimenting, I suggest you start slowly, with small amounts, at various stages of the cooking process. Miso soup is a great way to start because there aren’t too many ingredients or steps in the soup-making process.

Enoki Miso Soup

Serves 4

  • 3 cups water
  • 5 ounces (or more if you’d like) soft tofu, drained and diced
  • 1 tablespoon dried seaweed (wakame)
  • 3 thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 cup of rinsed fresh enoki or shiitake mushrooms
  • 5 tablespoons yellow miso
  • 2 teaspoons dashi powder (or you can get miso with dashi)

Bring the water, tofu, mushrooms and seaweed to a simmer  in a medium stockpot over medium heat. Let simmer 1 minute and add the scallions. Lower the heat to low after 30 seconds and add the miso using a slotted spoon, letting the miso dissolved out of the spoon.  When the miso is fully dissolved, it’s ready to serve!

79 calories ∣ 21 calories from fat ∣ 2 g fat ∣ 0 g saturated fat ∣ 10 g carbs ∣ 2 g fiber ∣ 5 g protein ∣ Good source of vitamin K ∣ Sodium

*All miso is high in sodium, this recipe is not recommended for anyone on a salt-restricted diet.

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