Miso soup is a staple soup dish made by seasoning dashi with miso that is served with rice in Japanese food culture. The ingredient in the soup is ranging very wide such as vegetables, tofu, fu (Wheat gluten,) meat, and seafood.
Today, Miso soup is not hard to get and you will have many opportunities to have one.
Also known as another name “Omiotsuke”.
Why miso soup is so important for the Japanese?
Miso soup has a role to stimulate appetite together with side dishes.
At the same time, the soy protein contained in miso was the main protein deficient in Japanese food in the past and was also the main source for supplementing the salt consumed by sweat.
So, is Miso soup good for you?
Let’s find out nutrition, health benefits, and cooking tips.
- What’s Special About Miso Soup
- The Key Of Miso Soup
- Miso Soup Rich In Protein
- An Important Tip To Make Savory Miso Soup
What’s Special About Miso Soup
Although miso soup has been considered as the side soup dish, it has an important role in the Japanese cuisine principle called “one soup and three side dishes (includes the main dish.)
As I said, miso soup can be expected to stimulate apatite but also, it is also the perfect dish to “eat multiple ingredients efficiently in one time.”
Particularly, there are “butajiru” and “kenchin-jiru” as popular Miso soup dishes which contain multiple vegetables and protein, is an ideal menu that allows you to eat many foods.
The Key Of Miso Soup
Miso soup is simple and easy to cook when dashi broth is ready.
Dashi is definitely an important factor to make miso soup.
If you use dashi broth well, miso soup will be delicious enough without adding too much Miso which means it can avoid taking excessive salt.
So don’t try to add another spoon of miso, use Dashi soup properly.
If you like to skip the order to make authentic Dashi broth, you can use dashi powder instead.
Miso Soup Rich In Protein
In ancient times, miso soup was also an important source of protein for the Japanese who had a lack of protein diet.
In Japan, soybeans are called “meat in the field”. soybeans that are the raw material for miso contain abundant proteins.
In addition, miso contains varieties of vitamins, minerals, and also bacteria such as lactic acid bacteria by fermentation, which is useful for digestion and anti-aging.
An Important Tip To Make Savory Miso Soup
Making miso is simple and easy if you don’t forget two important keys; one is dashi broth that I explained and adding miso in boiled water.
Don’t add miso too early.
The flavor of miso comes from the alcohol produced by yeast. Therefore, if the alcohol will be away, the flavor will be impaired too.
- Boil dashi broth. When using root vegetables, start to cook them in cold water.
- Cook ingredients in medium or low heat. Tofu and leaf veggies can be cooked after adding miso.
- Turn off the stove. Put miso paste on a ladle, soak it in a soup, dissolve it using a whisk, spoon or chopsticks.
- Add Tofu or leaf veggies which can be cooked quickly. (low heat)
- Simmer with low heat, then it will be ready to serve when you see bubbles inside the edge.
How Much Miso Paste To Use For Miso Soup
It will differ depends on the types of miso that you use, generally, 1-1.5 tablespoons of miso to 1½ cups water.
Taste and adjust before serving.
Ingredients Of Your Choice
In general, we add two or more ingredients in miso soup due to encouraging (yourself and family) actively intake veggies.
Tofu is the best ingredient to get protein for miso soup as you see because it is made of soybeans.
Also, the most popular combination in miso soup with tofu are aburaage (deep-fried tofu) and wakame seaweeds.
For those who are concerned about high blood pressure, the combination of wakame seaweed and tofu is recommended.
- Pork belly
Abura-age is slicing, drain, and deep-fried tofu. So, it has higher calories, but, it is also rich in soy-specific nutrients such as vegetable proteins, soy isoflavones, and soy saponins. It is also rich in calcium and is a must-try food.
If you use Abura-age without prep, you will feel the oxidized oily taste and habits, and also it’s hard to absorb flavor.
Don’t be so disappointed. It’s so easy to prep abura-age.
Put 1 sheet of abura-age on the colander and pour the boiled water evenly.
Turn it over and repeat pouring boiled water. It’s called “Abura-nuki”, removing excess oil.
Throw In Your Favarite Veggies
You can basically throw any vegetables into miso soup.
Popular ingredients in Japan are,
leaks/cabbage/ eggplant/okra/Japanese sweet potato/Kabocha squash/daikon radish/napa cabbage/turnips/taro/onions/bean sprouts/potatoes/spinach/bok choy/carrots/mushrooms
You may think that the ingredients for miso soup have to be Japanese, but most ingredients go well with miso soup such as zucchini, tomatoes, and basil.
The Tip For Cooking Veggies For Miso Soup
As I said, the order of throwing into a soup is important.
The ingredients for miso soup can be any vegetables, but the texture and flavor will change depending on the order of cooking. Basically, root vegetables are put in a pot before boiling, and other vegetables are cooked after boiling.
|From Cold Water||Root vegetables|
(Carrot, Daikon radish,
burdock, lotus root, turnip, onion)
|From Boiled Water||Leafy vegetables |
(spinach, cabbage, lettuce,
rape blossoms, Chinese cabbage,
Japanese mustard spinach)
|Just Before Completed||Tofu |
dried wakame seaweed
(rehydrated with water)
Don’t Miss Dried Veggies For Miso Soup
You can’t miss dried veggies for miso soup if you are running out of fresh veggies.
Don’t forget to rehydrate before throwing them in the pot.
What About Sodium In Miso Soup?
Miso is often considered a food high in salt. Certainly, miso itself contains about 10 to 13% salt. So, what about sodium level in a bowl of miso soup?
It will depend on the amount of Miso usage, but generally, it will be a little over 1 g of salt per cup, so shouldn/t be nervous if you are healthy.
*Generally, a bowl of miso soup contains 1 tablespoon of miso for 150 ml of dashi stock, thus, the sodium is about 1.2 g.
Potassium can be expected to help to remove excess salt. It is especially abundant in seaweeds such as wakame seaweed. Those who are concerned about salt content should take it positively.
How To Choose Miso Paste
Miso soup has different taste preferences depending on the person, so it’s hard to define which miso is good. If you find one that you purchased and feel a little salty or unpleasant, you can blend it with other types of miso to make it better.
Read my Miso 101 post and find out which miso you might like.
Miso Goes Well Milk
Miso is packed with Umami, so it goes well with dairy products.
If you want to try a different miso soup rather than an authentic one, you can have milky miso soup adding milk or soy milk.
Adding grounded sesame seeds is another option, it’s a good cozy soup in the winter season.
Add the same amount of milk or soy milk when ingredients are done cooked. The guide of an amount of miso paste is 1 cup of dashi stock, 1 cup of milk, and 2 tablespoons of miso paste.
So, it’s a good idea to add miso paste as a secret ingredient in your chawder.
The Bottom Line
Miso soup is no longer hidden Japanese food all over the world, but there are many hidden trivia to make Miso soup at home.
Technically, miso soup is simple and easy to cook.
Moreover, it has been considered a healthy soup in Japan.
You may only concern about sodium level, but you can’t use much Miso paste in one dish anyway (because salty.)
As I said in this post, around 1g per bowl of miso soup.
Try unique ingredients or vegetables in a fridge, and incorporate Japanese soul soup in your cooking life!