On a cold winter day, a nice bowl of brothy soup can be the best thing to warm you from the inside out! This miso soup can be thrown together in less than 5 minutes– the only cooking required is a little sauteing and heating up in a pot. This miso soup contains baby spinach, tofu cubes, and shiitake mushrooms.
I’ve been experiencing a growing interest in all things Asian cuisine, especially miso soup. There’s just so many different types of sauces– teriyaki, sweet chili, mirin, hoisin, oyster, plum, peanut.. the list just goes on and on. And there’s so many components, layers of flavor, in Asian style dishes– broths, stocks, little additions that take the flavor to whole new levels each time something else is added.
My “new ingredient” for the new year? Miso! I’ve been eyeing miso soup recipes around the web for a while, waiting for my opportunity to try. A couple weeks ago, my Dad and I went down to the Asian market here in Dallas (we’re both interested in unique foods and flavors!) and I decided to pick up some miso! It’s been sitting in my fridge for a couple weeks and I’ve been itching to try it out.
I ended up not using the seaweed in the picture (top right)– too fishy of a taste for me.
Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning, produced by fermenting soybeans with salt and a fungus, and sometimes rice or barley. The result is a thick paste used for sauces and spreads, or mixing with dashi (seaweed/fish) soup stock to create miso soup. Miso is high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals. It’s typically salty, but it’s flavor and aroma depends on the ingredients and fermentation process. Different varieties of miso (white, red) are described as salty, sweet, and savory.
Miso soup is that salty, savory broth with scallions, tofu and commonly shiitake mushrooms that’s served before the sushi arrives. It’s very easy to make at home and can be one of the most satisfying ways to treat yourself during the cold winter months! I opted to use chicken broth instead of dashi, because I couldn’t make it in time to buy pre-made dashi from the Asian supermarket, and I’m also not a huge fan of seaweed. I always get my sushi wrapped in brown rice paper.
What Kind of Miso?
Miso is, of course, the central ingredient to making miso soup. This fermented paste comes in a variety of colors: white (sweet, mellow), yellow (mild), and red (saltier, more pungent flavor). For restaurant-style miso soup, use red miso. Next time I’m going to try yellow and white!
Where to Find Ingredients?
An Asian grocery store is always your best bet for the freshest variety of ingredients. I like the supermarket Ranch 99 here in Dallas. I’ve heard that Whole Foods carries a few varieties of miso. Look in the “international” section of your local grocery store– you might be surprised to see they carry it!
This soup tastes great after a long day of work and it’s cold outside. You can make yourself a giant bowl, with plenty of diced tofu (which softens up in the broth and tastes just wonderful). I added fresh spinach, which wilted in seconds in the hot broth, and fresh shiitake mushrooms that I sauteed in olive oil for a few minutes. Feel free to use dried mushrooms if you can find them easily!
Here’s the recipe for my 5-Minute Miso Soup for One:
5-Minute Miso Soup for One
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp miso, whisked with a splash of water in a small bowl
- 1 large green onion, sliced thin
- 1/4 cup extra-firm tofu, diced
- 1/2 cup baby spinach
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 3 fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
In a small pot, add the broth, miso, green onion, tofu, and spinach, bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small skillet and add the mushrooms. Sautee for 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat. Remove and add to the soup pot.
After five minutes of simmering, pour into a large bowl and enjoy!