RECIPE: Make Miso Soup from Scratch and Bringing Zen into Dinner

There is nothing quite like holding a steamy bowl of miso soup, cupped in your hands while breathing in that soupy-salty-goodness with a hint of briny seaweed scent. It is almost a form of meditation, even for that 30 seconds. It soothes the soul and calms the senses. What's amazing is how easy it is to make. A quick trip to your local Asian store (which in and of itself is a fun adventure) and you have the makings of a soup you can have on hand all week.

Miso soup is a staple in Japanese cuisine, and a must when starting a night of sushi eating. Over the years, my husband and I taught ourselves how to make sushi, edamame, and miso soup. Our best friend and godfather to our child (who is half Okinawan) has also helped us on our Japanese culinary journey. The beauty of miso soup is that it can be made to anyone's liking, and through the years we have tweaked it for our needs. If we are making it a more substantial part of our dinner, we add more vegetables and tofu to make it more substantial. If it is a light starter for a night of "sushi-palooza", we keep it simpler and lighter. The base recipe is so versatile that once you master it, you can have your own fun with it. I urge you to try it!

Make Miso Soup from Scratch

7 cups of water
3 tsp. hon-dashi (dashi stock base made from bonito)
3 Tbsp. red or yellow miso paste (adjust later with more if needed to your taste)
3 Tbsp. bonito flakes (optional)
1 sheet of lavar (toasted seaweed), torn up in 1-2 inch pieces
1/4-1/2 chopped green onions
8 oz. chopped firm tofu
1/4-1/2 julienned carrots


Heat the water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the dashi stock and dissolve. Bring the water near boil, and add the miso paste and mix until melted and dissolved. Lower heat to a low simmer. Add the bonito flakes if using. Simmer for a minute or two. Then add the tofu, carrots, lavar and green onions. Simmer for 4-5 minutes, just until your vegetables have softened a touch. Adjust seasoning by adding a touch more bonito soup base or miso. Serve in bowls.

Here is a video how-to to help out!
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