The wind is howling, the rain is lashing and my beloved is somewhere over Greenland on an 18-hour flight. When he arrives home this evening, after the hugs and kisses, only one thing will do. Soup. I’ve decided to make miso soup – or at least my variation of it. It’s quick. It’s easy. It warms the bones but isn’t too heavy. Best of all, Ben loves it.
Miso soup is a forgiving soup. After a few essential ingredients it’s one of those soups to which you can add almost anything. As much as I love Ben there’s no way I’m going outside so today my ingredients will be limited to what’s in the fridge and pantry:
- a good sized knob of fresh ginger (more or less depending on how much you like ginger)
- 1 clove of garlic
- 4-5 scallions
- ½ jalapeño pepper (more or less depending on how much heat you like)
- ¼ head white cabbage
- 2 medium sized carrots
- a small packet of dried shiitake mushrooms
- ½ a small block firm tofu
- 1-2 tbsp red miso
- 1-2 tbsp white miso
- sesame oil to taste
- a splash or so of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or any soy sauce)
- cilantro for garnish
If I had sea vegetables handy I’d add wakame or dulce. Since I have both white and red miso in the fridge I’m using both. Red miso is fermented longer and has a strong, robust taste. White miso is milder and somewhat sweet. When I have them, other root vegetables like parsnip or daikon radish get thrown into the pot, too. Bok choy is delicious but today I have to settle for cabbage. But, like I said, miso soup is a forgiving soup.
I don’t start with the traditional dashi. Instead, I simply fill a 4.5 quart pot about ⅔ full of water and place it on the stove to heat but not boil. While the water on the stove is heating I re-hydrate my dried shiitake mushrooms with hot water from the kettle. When they’re ready to go into the soup, the water they soaked in will go in, too. While the water heats and the shiitakes soak, I begin chopping. I work down the list. The ginger, garlic and jalapeño are a small dice, the carrot a medium dice and the white cabbage a chiffonade. The shiitakes are next, sliced fine and then the tofu, cubed.
And now it’s time for the miso. Too much miso is a disaster and so I add about half a dessert spoon of each at a time and then taste. In the end I add about two tablespoons of each. I can always add more miso later but if I add too much now I can never take it back.
I love noodles in my miso soup. I usually use cellophane rice noodles but today all I have are Pad Thai black rice noodles. They’re about the size of linguini. I’m adding about a quarter sized handful, broken in half.
And that’s it. This miso soup takes about 30 minutes to prepare. I’m going to let it simmer on the stove for until the noodles are soft and then have a bowl to check for seasoning. I serve this miso with a drizzle of sesame oil and a few cilantro leaves.
Apologies to my dozens of readers who may have received this twice. I’m having one of those days where I really should have stayed away from heavy machinery…or at least computers. This post should really be filed under ‘Well-Seasoned Yogi’ but my Page Attributes button appears to have disappeared (and re-appeared once I solved the problem…oh…and yes, the problem was ME). In my frustration I deleted the post, changed my mind and posted it again.