I’m not a big fan of going entirely vegetarian, but there are some foods that can be entirely satisfying even without the meat. For me, miso soup is one of those foods. It’s one of those soups that leaves you fulfilled without feeling utterly full, which is the best kind of full in my opinion. And I guess if you don’t believe me that it does satisfy hunger quite well - well, then follow this recipe because I actually made a heartier version of the traditional - with bigger chunks of tofu and seaweed.
The Japanese soup may seem a bit exotic, but it’s actually super easy to make. For the broth (called dashi), which is essentially the basis for this delicious soup, all you do is boil bonito fish flakes together with a bit of dried kelp. Within minutes - not hours, you get this really rich yet clean tasting broth.
Afterwards, you just put your other ingredients like tofu and miso paste together and voila - you have your soup. Easy.
A special note on miso (fermented soybean paste) is usually, the darker the miso, the stronger the flavor. Some lighter types of miso are fermented with rice or barley, which lightens the flavor. I’d say, it’s a bit like light and dark soy sauce. The flavors in the dark are more deep and mature, but at times, do not have that kick that a lighter and younger version would. For soup, I’d go with the lighter miso, but a blend of light and dark maybe mixed together according to your palate.
Dried sea kelp
Ingredients 12 oz block of firm silken tofu, cut into big and small chunks 1 1/2 sheets dried kelp, broken into pieces 3 tablespoons bonito flakes 4 cups water 4-5 tablespoons yellow miso 1 stalk scallion, sliced on bias
1. In a saucepan, bring water, bonito flakes, and kelp to a boil. Leave on medium high heat for 3 minutes. When cool, take out kelp and cut into 1 inch thick strips and return to liquid.
2. Prepare the tofu by cutting into small block pieces.
3. Combine 2-3 ladles of broth with miso paste and whisk till smooth. 4. Return broth to a simmer and add tofu pieces and miso mixture. Simmer for 3-4 minutes. 5. Serve with freshly sliced scallions.