Miso Shiru - Japan's Favorite Soup

by Celeste Heiter, Dec 28, 2002 | Destinations: Japan / Tokyo

Japanese soups tend to be light and clear, made with a soup base called dashi. This basic stock, steeped with dried kelp and smoky dried bonito shavings, is the foundation for Japan's most common soup, miso shiru, which consists of dashi, miso paste, flakes of dried wakame seaweed, and cubes of firm tofu.

Miso Soup (Serves 4)

The base for this delicious soup is a stock called dashi. To make dashi, you will need:

One quart of water
One 4" piece of dried konbu (dried sea kelp)
One cup of katsuo (dried bonito shavings)

Rinse or wipe the dusty coating from the surface of the konbu and place in a pot with one quart of water and cook over high heat. When the water comes to a boil remove and discard the konbu. Add the katsuo and bring to a boil again. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool. Strain the liquid into a separate container and discard the katsuo. The remaining liquid is called dashi and can be used as a base to make a wide variety of soups and dipping sauces.

To prepare Miso Soup you will need:

1 quart of dashi
4 tbsp miso paste
1 tbsp dried wakame seaweed flakes, finely chopped
1 cup of tofu cut into ½" cubes

Bring the dashi to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the miso paste and stir with a wooden spoon until it dissolves completely. Bring the mixture just to a boil again and remove from the heat. Add the tofu cubes and wakame. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving. Ladle the soup into small bowls, stirring as you ladle to making sure that the miso, tofu cubes and wakame are well distributed between the portions.