Chances are, if you like miso, you will love miso soup!
Here’s how to make miso soup from scratch using pure miso paste.
While instant miso soups – like our range of packets of instant miso sachets – are very convenient when you’re on the go or short on time, making miso soup from scratch is deeply satisfying and surprisingly quick so if you want to make the real thing, do give it a go, it is well worth the extra effort.
My recipe below is a vegetarian one which is lighter than its more traditional smokier miso soup which contains bonito (smoked tuna) flakes.
The basic principles of miso soup is very simple. It is composed of 2 main ingredients with each ingredient having had its flavours deeply developed and honed for a long time, then topped with fresh toppings.
You will need the following:
1. Miso paste (pure or blended) – we would recommend 50:50 of white and red miso for a balanced flavour. If you like a sweeter lighter flavour, then a white miso paste is best, or if you prefer a much stronger flavour, try a pure red or barley miso paste.
2. Dashi – is a light Japanese stock that is thin like a broth and made from simmering dried tuna flakes, kombu seaweed, shitake mushrooms or a combination of them. As a swap out, a light vegetable stock can be used if you cannot get hold of the ingredients.
3. Finish with simple garnishes. The miso soup is the main event so try not to overload with toppings, tempting as it is! Herbs, greens, tofu, eggs are all very popular and delicious. In Japan, aubergines and okra are also popular!
Having each ingredient prepped in advance is best as it all comes together very quickly.
Basic recipe for miso soup from scratch, for 4 people
- Make up 800ml of hot dashi. I like to make kombu dash which is a seaweed stock. Kombu is a very special type of seaweed that come in large sheets and has the highest amount of umami in any vegetable! You simply snip a rectangle of around 20cm x 10cm per person and drop it into cold water and leave for 3o minutes before simmering for 5 minutes, and removing the pieces from the liquid. The liquid left behind is the dashi stock which is full of umami. (If you want to know how to make traditional Japanese stock using bonito flakes and kombu together – a fish and seaweed stock – check out our blog section for this recipe, and swap this in.)
- Once the dashi is bubbling hot, turn down the heat and add your toppings. I love tofu cubes, green vegetables and chives. Wakame seaweed if you have some is also delightful and adds more umami flavour. Keep it simple. Miso Soup is very versatile though and great with fish like salmon, as well as meat like pork or chicken.
- Once the toppings are warmed through in the dashi, turn the heat off.
- Ladle a cup of the dashi into a small bowl and stir into it 4 level tablespoons of miso paste (can be just white miso, just red miso or a blend of the two types) – that’s one tablespoon of miso paste per person. Once the liquid is nice and smooth without any lumps, pour it into the pot of dashi and toppings. Serve immediately.
- It is important not to boil miso paste if you want to enjoy the full flavours and nutritional qualities of miso.
We hope you enjoy making miso soup from scratch! This is so easy that once you have done it once, you will be making this all the time. The deeper, natural flavours make it well worth it.
Traditionally in Japan, miso soup is served at breakfast and often at the end of meals too, as it perks you up in the morning and supports your digestion after a big meal. Why not enjoy miso soup throughout the day with your meals? Remember to share your creations with us on Instagram @misotasty! We love to see them!
Quick tips on upping your game on your homemade miso soup
– We recommend using distilled water for a smoother flavour
– Try a range of herbs to add new dimensions of flavour, but try lighter flavours such as tarragon, chives and coriander, rather than rosemary or mint.
– Add noodles for a quick meal!
– If you have leftover dashi, try it in any dishes you would normally use water for such as spaghetti or even boiled potatoes to increase the flavours of the finished dish.