Miso Soup – The Perfect Oriental Starter

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Miso soup is a staple of Japanese cuisine and has been for a great many centuries. Known as Misoshiru in Japan, it is the mixing of miso paste with dashi soup stock. Miso is as traditional seasoning used in Japanese cuisine. It is produced by fermenting rice, barley and soy beans along with salt and a koji fungus. Dashi is made from dried, fermented and smoked skipjack tuna (called Katsuobushi in Japan) which is sliced very thinly and mixed with dried kelp, called kombu. Dashi stock is the basis of many Japanese dishes and gives Japanese food its authentic flavour. Thankfully, both miso and dashi can be purchased readymade.

The soup can be served in its basic state, being hot water, miso paste and dashi soup stock to create a very thin, yet very tasty oriental soup. This is a perfect starter for a Japanese meal. Alternatively, a variety of vegetables and noodles can be added to give the soup a bit more substance and is often served as a main course in this manner. By adding noodles, such as the shirataki noddle, tofu and leeks or spring onions is an easy way to create a traditional Japanese soup.

Shirataki noodles are a low carb, low calorie type of noodle made from the elephant yam (also known as Devils Tongue). These noodles are thin and translucent and the word shirataki means white waterfall, which describes the appearance of these noodles. The preparation of these noodles is very easy, as with any other type of noodle; simply add to hot water, add to cooked vegetable with a little hot water or, as we are going to do with our miso soup, simply add them to the soup.

The ingredients of this recipe for miso soup is as follows:

  • 1 pack of shirataki noodles (unless you're feeding a large party, you wont need the full pack)
  • 2-5 tablespoons if miso paste (depending on taste and how many you are feeding)
  • Dashi soup stock
  • Chopped tofu. Small cubes work best around 7mm3
  • A handful of spinach (more for large parties)
  • Thinly sliced leek (quantities to suit)

As we are not cooking for a specific number of servings, change the quantities accordingly. The beauty of this soup is the liquid can be added or removed if it seems too 'full' or 'empty'. First of all, bring a pan of water to the boil and add the dashi soup stock. Allow it to simmer before adding the thinly sliced leeks and diced tofu. As with stir fry, there is no need to fully cook the leeks as leaving a slight crunchiness will make the dish all the more authentic. A few minutes prior to serving add the spinach, miso and the shirataki noodles, stir well to ensure the miso is properly distributed and serve in a traditional Japanese deep bowl. Using chop sticks is not advised. 

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Barry Summers has 214 articles online

If you are interested in miso paste and shirataki then visit sushi sushi today.

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Miso Soup – The Perfect Oriental Starter

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Miso Soup – The Perfect Oriental Starter

This article was published on 2012/02/19