Sunday, February 24, 2013

Miso Soup for #SundaySupper

Miso Soup

Construction is still ongoing in my apartment. This past week, my refrigerator was in my dining room, my dishwasher was normally where my refrigerator stands and my kitchen sink along with one side of my kitchen cabinets were missing. Good thing I prepared this appetizer before everything was torn down.

This week's #SundaySupper theme is soups. I prepard a miso soup appetizer a couple of months after I started my first website however, I had no clue what I was doing so I wanted to revisit the dish. Enter Nami of Just One Cookbook. I discovered her almost two years ago and she has since become my authority for Japanese cuisine.

One of the things I found fascinating when preparing this soup is that fundamentally, the preparation is the same between it and many Western soups. It starts off with a stock and then flavor is added to it. In this case, the stock is called a dashi, which is made from kelp and bonito, and the flavor is miso paste, which is commonly made from fermented soybeans. According to Nami, there are many variations of dashi because it is a component in many other Japanese dishes. Nami also notes that dashi packets and instant dashi can be purchased but I don't take shortcuts here so I will make awashe dashi from scratch. Many of these ingredients are not stocked by American supermarkets, but can easily be found in specialty Asian grocery stores.

The Challenge

I would not normally publish a dish such as this because the preparation isn't very complicated but the challenge here isn't difficulty; it's authenticity.

The Source

I encourage you to check out Nami's tutorial on how to make dashi because she took some amazing step-by-step pictures that I was not able to replicate. I started with step 4 of her miso soup recipe because she used a dashi packet for the soup in the post.


0.7 ounces (20 grams) dashi kombu
2 cups loosley packed Hana Katsuo or Katsuobushi bonito flakes
1 quart water
2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons white miso paste
5 ounces soft tofu, cut into small cubes (optional)
1 teaspoon dried wakame (optional)
1 green onion cut crosswise into rings (optional)


1. Gently clean the kombu with a damp cloth but leave the white powdery substance. Score the sides of the kombu using kitchen shears. Place water in a medium saucepan and add the kombu and soak for 3 to 12 hours.

2. Slowly bring the water to just short of a boil (bubbles have formed on the bottom of the saucepan) over medium-low heat, approximately 20-25 minutes, skimming the surface periodically to remove any impurities.

3. Once the water has formed the bubbles, remove the kombu. Remove from heat and let it cool. Once cool, add the bonito flakes and bring to a boil, and continue skimming any impurities. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 seconds, then remove from heat. Let the mixture sit for ten minutes so the bonito flakes can settle to the bottom of the saucepan. Line a strainer with a paper towels and set it over a large bowl. Strain out the bonito flakes, reserving the fluid (dashi).

4. While the bonito flakes settle, add the wakame to a small bowl filled with water to rehydrate, approximately 10 minutes. Once rehydrated, add the wakame and the green onion to serving bowls.

5. Return the fluid to a simmer and add the miso, dissolving it in a ladle and 1 tablespoon at a time, tasting in between additions because miso paste can have a high concentration of sodium. Stir in the tofu cubes, adding 1/2 tablespoon more miso if needed because the tofu can dilute the miso. Spoon the soup into the serving bowls with the wakame and onions and serve immediately.


About a week after I prepared this soup, Mrs. Stuntman wanted sushi. I ordered a bento box which came with a bowl of miso soup, however I was disappointed with it and preferred the homemade variety.

Nami notes that the used kombu and the bonito flakes can be reserved to make niban dashi, which is a less concentrated form used in other dishes where the flavors of the dashi are secondary to other ingredients. If you aren't familiar with her, I strongly suggest getting to know her. Please 'Like' her on facebook, follow her on twitter and pinterest in addition to adding her on G+.

Other Sunday Supper Participants

And finally, please check out this week's other Sunday Supper participants:

Do The Chicken Dance (chicken {or other poultry} soups)

Where's The Beef (Beef Soups)

Pass The Pork. Please (Pork or Sausage Soups)

Under The Sea (Seafood Soups)

Eat Your Veggies (Chock Full o' Vegetables Soups)

Some Don't Like It Hot (Chilled Soups)


  1. Miso soup is one of my favorites and yours turned out beautifully. Such strong clear flavor. Also, as a child, I was always fascinated by how it divides as it sits and then you can stir it and suddenly, it's all together again. If you know what I mean. Yes, even as a child, I played with food. :)

  2. Omedeto gozaimasu - congratulations on a lovely authentic miso. Love that you've used wakame in this lovely soup.

  3. What a lovely soup! This would be so perfect for a before diner appetizer!! I need to bookmark your recipe!!

  4. Love that you made homemade miso! Looks great.

  5. Delicous!!! Sounds fantastic ~ Bea @ galactosemia in PDX

  6. What a great recipe. I also learned a lot, which is what I love about food and cooking... so much to learn and experience! Thank you.

  7. I just love your website name. Anyway, one look at your soup, and I knew that you used bonito flakes. I have a funny story about recently using this product. I spilled it all over the stove and into the flatware drawer. Can you imagine how long the fishy smell lasted? Oh, at least a month. Your soup looks way delicious, and, since I have all the ingredients already, I think I'll make myself a bowl of Miso Soup (your recipe) while I watch the Oscars tonight.

  8. Thank you DB! It was fun reading your challenge on making miso soup from scratch! Depending on miso you use, the miso soup can taste a little different and I hope you enjoy finding out what's your preference. Also, you can add all kinds of veggies, meat (usually chicken or pork) or seafood (white fish or clams) for the miso soup too and it is very versatile! Thank you for the kind mention and for linking back to my several posts. I really appreciate it! :)

  9. Nami has superb I need to aquaint myself with a few of these ingredients and give your soup a try! I bet it's DELISH!

  10. Great recipe! Nami is wonderful, I bookedmarked this one to try as well. Well done.

  11. Love miso soup. My french friends had some japanese room mates when they live din delhi. they used to make miso soup for breakfast every day and because of that my friends are fed up of miso. lol I think so I have to show them a miso soup's beauty. =)

  12. What an interesting recipe! I've never made miso soup before. Thanks for showing me how!

  13. I just learned more about miso soup than I have ever known before. Thank you for the recipe and such an insightful post. So authentic and something I do want to try. It's a good thing I've discovered a wonderful Asian market not too far away from my home. I'm sure I can get all the ingredients.

  14. I know a ton of people here who would love a bowl of this

  15. I've never made miso soup, but have gone crazy lately over playing with miso paste. Thanks for the detailed instructions - I'm going to have to try to make it!!

  16. Yummm... I thought miso soup was soooo hard to make .. you make it look sooo easy ;)

  17. We once ate out for 3 solid months during construction. It was a crazy time. I now appreciate my kitchen so much.

    Love Nami's site. Great resource for Japanese cuisine. Plus she's just so nice.

    Love your soup. You do great work my friend. I probably would not have the patience so kudos to you!

  18. Kitchen renovations are not fun! Kudos to you for cooking while it's going on and thanks for the miso soup lesson.

  19. I love a good, simple, heart-warming soup...and this sounds like it is one. Yum!

  20. Miso soup reminds me of going out to sushi for date night with my husband when we first got married. I love the idea of making it at home, thanks for sharing

  21. I love this!!! Like you said, the challenge isn't difficult but being authentic, love that! now, this is miso soup! Bravo!

  22. Bookmarked this recipe.. I love soups and this looks like a good one! Especially with this cold weather we have here in NY...

  23. Wow! Great challenge take on. I don't think I have ever been brave enough to prepare a Japanese dish. My lists keeps piling on what to cook, but I somehow always end up baking something instead. LOL.. Have a great weekend! Cheers~


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