© Copyright 1995-2017, Clay Irving <email@example.com>, Manhattan Beach, CA USA
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Recipe from: Japanese Cooking A Simple Art by Shizuo Tsuji
In many ways, miso is to Japanese cooking what butter is to French cooking and olive oil to the Italian way (to paraphase M.F.K Fisher), and behind miso's omnipresence in the Japanese kitchen lies abundant common sense. Take miso-based soups. Not only do they require just a few minutes to prepare (an important criterion for a breakfast food), more important, typical servings provide roughly one-sixth the adult daily requirement of protien.
It is impossible to miso soup to be boring. It can be based on any type of miso, from salty to sweet, and it is always served with supplementary ingredients and seasonings. In the course of the four seasons, relying on easily available produce and nonseasonal staples, one can make a different miso soup nearly every day without repetition.
Below is just one of the seemingly limitless variety of miso soups.
3 ⅓ cups primary dashi, or secondary dashi, or sardine stock
approximately ½ cup nameko mushrooms, or 2 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
⅓ cake tofu
4 tablespoons red miso
4 stalks trefoil (mitsuba)
ground sansho pepper
Make the stock of your choice and assemble the supporting ingredients. Nameko mushrooms are available in cans; they are similar to conventional button mushrooms, but have a slippery coating (substitute shiitake). Drain the tofu.
Soften the miso in a medium-sized bowl by adding 2 tablespoons tepid stock and blending with a wire whisk. If you put the miso directly into the stock pot, it will not be properly held in solution, and the soup will be full of miso pellets.
Gradually ladle the softened miso into the stock in a medium-sized pot, simmering over medium heat. (If you want satin-smooth soup, strain the soup from one pot to another.)
When all the miso has been added and is dissolved, add the solid ingredients. The tofu can be cut into ½ inch cubes over the stock pot. Chop the trefoil stalks into small pieces. Keep soup at a simmer a few minutes — Boiling will change the flavor.
To serve, ladle into individual bowls, distributing the mushrooms, tofu, and chopped trefoil equally and attractively. Garnish with a shake or two of sansho pepper. Cover and serve immediately.