Miso soup is simple and wholesome and one of the best meals to turn to when you’ve overimbibed and you need to bring your body back to equilibrium.
I’d heard about the health benefits of miso years ago from my naturopath and while I don’t eat it nearly enough, I do feel compelled to eat it when I’m feeling a bit under the weather. It’s high in antioxidants, strengthens the immune system, aids digestion and contains all the essential amino acids. Its taste may be more subtle that we’re used to in our western diet, but when combined with herbs and spices as well as fresh vegetables and seafood, it is a gently comforting and delicious soup.
There’s so much flexibility in this recipe, so don’t feel at all constrained by it. If you can’t source kombu, just leave it out. If you want the broth to have a stronger taste, add some vegetable or chicken stock to the water. If you like tofu, add it. If you prefer broccoli or kale to bok choy, use it instead. And, if noodles is your thing, then this is the perfect place to include them. Play around with it and make it yours.
Thanks to Cook For Your Life.org (a wonderful site that provides healthy cooking recipes for people with cancer) for this recipe, which I’ve adapted. Enjoy.
Serves 2-4 (depending on serving size)
- 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons sliced spring onions (scallions)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- About a cup of fresh sliced shiitake mushrooms (if using dried mushrooms, pre-soak first then add in Step 3)
- 3 cups water
- 1 (2 to 3-inch) piece of kombu (dried kelp); If you don’t have kombu, just cut dried nori into strips and add in Step 3
- Optional: Fresh or frozen shrimps
- 1 bok choy, leaves roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons shiro miso paste (white fermented soybean), otherwise known as white miso
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Optional: Coriander (cilantro), for garnish
- In a small fry-pan (skillet), heat a tablespoon of sesame oil and gently fry spring onions until soft. Add garlic, ginger and chopped (fresh only) shitake mushrooms and fry gently for another couple of minutes. Put aside.
- In a large saucepan add water and kombu and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a light simmer and remove kombu, dry and reserve for another use.
- Add shrimps and bok choy leaves and stir until they are gently cooked through. Add the fried mushroom mix (or the hydrated mushrooms and strips of dried nori, if using) and stir to combine.
- Transfer ½ cup of broth to a small bowl, and whisk with miso paste until well blended. Return the mixed paste to the saucepan with the broth, stir to combine, then turn the heat off (you shouldn’t boil miso).
- Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with coriander (cilantro) if using.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Canon 50mm 1.8 lens / Natural lighting