Sunday, September 30, 2012

Miso Soup

Japanese food lies at the very top of my all-time favorite cuisines. I'm not a huge fan of sushi, but Japanese food has so much more than that. Their little bite-sized salad selections just make me happy. Miso soup is something I love to have at restaurants, but is also incredibly easy to make at home. Yes, you can do it without the dashi stock (or as close as I can get here), but it's so much more delicious with it!

Miso Soup (for 4 bowls)
1 Tablespoon kelp flakes (this REALLY expands)
4 cups water
1 small block tofu
2 green onions, green and white parts sliced
4 Tablespoons miso paste

Fill a pot with 4 cups water. I do this with cold water, but in a pinch you could heat it to speed up the process. Add the kelp flakes to the water and let it sit for 30 minutes. That's your stock. Place the block of tofu on some folded up paper towels and place a weight on top to absorb excess moisture. Let it sit about 20 minutes before cutting into small cubes. Bring the soup stock up to a boil. Add the tofu, and for the sake of making sure all germs get killed, add the green onions and boil a few minutes. Scoop some of the hot stock into a bowl and add the miso paste to the boil. Stir to dissolve the paste in the water. Do a thorough job or your soup will be missing a lot of flavor from an undissolved chunk. Add the paste/water mixture to the pot. Stir just to heat through and turn off the heat. Technically, I think you should not boil the soup once the miso paste is added.

Note: If you've never made miso soup before, it separates as it cools so don't make it too far in advance. You just have to stir it up again to get it mixed when you eat it. Also, if you don't know where to get miso and kelp flakes, there's a shop called Uttam here that caters to East Asian customers. They've got all that stuff, but you could also try Japanese restaurants as many of them sell at least the miso paste quite cheaply. A lot of vegetable sellers carry tofu IF you buy in the morning. It gets sold fast, but it's ridiculously cheap for a block so its no wonder.

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