My first Miso Soup lesson (circa 2002):
After 9 hours in the air, and still recovering from walking pneumonia, all I wanted upon arrival in Japan was miso soup. Luckily, we were invited to a Japanese household for dinner. We ate at a special low table with a quilt for warmth called a kotatsu, something that would fit very well at our holler home during the winter.
This was the menu:
- Caesar salad
- Other various western dishes
Japanese people can be excellent hosts. I was polite, but a little disappointed.
As things were winding down for the night and we were sharing cultural stories, my host asked if there was any traditional Japanese foods I would be interested in trying. Not wanting to impose, I simply asked questions about how different dishes were made and what Japanese people traditionally eat. When miso soup came up, my host got very animated.
My host explained that miso is the solid by product that is produced when soy is fermented for soy sauce production. His family made their own miso and he jumped up to show me what it looked like. His wife then showed me how to make it and we all had a round of miso.
Instead of making it like most of the on line resources say you should, they made it as follows:
- 2 green onions diced
- 2 ounces tofu, cubed
- a handful of dices seaweed
- 2 tablespoons seaweed
- 2 cups of water
- 1 dash of fish sauce
Place water and seaweed on the stove and bring to a near boil. Whisk in the miso, add tofu cubes. Add a dash of fish sauce. Pour into bowls and garnish with green onions.
Most on line sources recommend that you use dashi instead of water, as shown in the video below. I suspect that the above method was used because there was no convenient way to produce dashi on a whim.
Recently, I have eaten more miso soup (sans tofu) because it is only 40 calories per serving and thus makes an excellent snack for a woman with a cooking blog who wishes to maintain a certain BMI. It was nice to not that miso soup is not only a yummy low calorie snack, it also has health benefits.