If you eat Japanese food, you eat Miso. It is one of the main food staples from Japan, sitting right next to the medium grain rice. Miso is pretty good for you too; it is a great source of protein and fiber. We call it 'liquid protein' in our house and when my kids are sick they get a bowl of diluted Miso with rice. There are some other really good health benefits that you can see here.
To make Miso you need the paste, which you can find in an Asian store. A lot of supermarkets will sell the instant kind which in my opinion is unpalatable. Here is what it looks like:
This gooey brown stuff you dissolve in a pot of water. The directions are usually in Japanese so you will need to add a bit, taste, then add more water or paste as needed. The flavor is slightly salty and mild, a little butter flavor comes to mind too; it tastes like......Miso.
For a medium pot half full of water I put in two scoops of this size:
I know what you are all thinking....that looks like..... Just don't let your kids see this part. :-)
Next is the Hon Dashi, which is fish broth powder. This is what makes your homemade Miso taste like the Japanese restaurant Miso. You don't need this stuff to have a good bowl of Miso; in fact for years I made my Miso without it. The Hon Dashi does have MSG in it so it is your call. In the pot above I put about a teaspoon of it in.
After tasting to make sure that it is not too strong or weak you add the Wakame. Wakame is dried seaweed. If this is just too weird for you, it can be skipped, but it really adds to the soup. Again, the Wakame is super healthy for you. When I was pregnant my mother in law made me bowls and bowls of Wakame salad....This is a package of Wakame:
I add about one handful like this to the pot. But if I have asked Bookworm to make Miso for dinner she has been known to put in 3 or 4 handfuls. My kids even love eating the Wakame dry.
Finally I cut up half a block of tofu and put it into the soup. This is a lot of tofu but my kids like their Miso heavy on the Wakame and tofu. You can put in a smaller amount if you want.
Then give it a stir and that's it!
We put a sprinkling of green onions on when we dish it into the bowls. And the kids always add a scoopful of rice to their bowls too. I love making this as an easy lunch once a week or so and this goes with pretty much any Asian meal you might make.
The Wakame and Hon Dashi I have seen at the supermarkets but I have to buy the Miso paste at an Asian store. My package of Wakame doesn't say 'Wakame', but if you ask at the Asian store they will take you right to it. I do hope you try this yummy and healthy Japanese soup.
2 spoonfuls of Miso paste
1 teaspoon Hon Dashi
1/4 cup Wakame Seaweed
1/4 to 1/2 block tofu, diced
sliced green onions
Fill pot with desired amount of water. Spoon Miso paste into water, stirring until dissolved. ( I use a whisk) Add Hon Dashi; taste. When water is steaming, add Wakame and tofu. Serve in bowls garnished with 1 teaspoon of sliced green onions.