This miso soup with tofu and vegetables is a great starter for an Asian inspired dinner. It’s extremely healthy and has a lot of umami flavor in it.
Previously, I’ve published my miso and soba noodles soup that made me fall in love with the subtle flavor of miso. This miso soup with tofu and vegetables is a soft combination of Asian flavor that will warm you from the inside.
This recipe has a lot of foreign ingredients and I will try to familiarize you with the most important of the list. This is by no means a difficult recipe, the downside here is to find all the ingredients.
First of all… Miso
Miso is a staple ingredient in the Japanese cuisine and guess what? I’m a HUGE geek for Japanese food — and basically everything Japan… yes, I’m a closeted weebo.
Miso paste can be a little tricky to find here in Portugal, but luckily in my local supermarket I can find — sometimes — miso paste in the international section. So, maybe you will have a hard time finding miso. The most important thing is that you must know what type of miso you’re looking for.
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What types of miso are there?
What you need to know about miso is that it’s basically made of fermented soybeans and that you can find 3 major varieties of miso in the market. This can be confusing for some of us and for that reason I will give you the easiest way of finding a good miso paste.
The different types of miso are basically divided into colors. The lighter the miso paste is, the less fermented it is:
- White miso: It’s made of short time fermented soybeans and rice beans. It’s the more subtle variety. If you are unsure if you will like miso this may be a good beginners option. You can play adding a little bit to your salad dressing and it can give you an idea of what miso tastes like — basically umami flavor.
- Yellow miso: It’s a mix of fermented soybeans and barley. It’s the in-between option and for that, it’s quite versatile.
- Red miso: This is the real deal. It’s made of fermented soybeans with barley but the fermentation process is way longer than the yellow miso. It has a pungent flavor and it is what most Japanese people consume for their everyday recipes. A little bit goes a long way. It is the saltiest of the three and it’s the miso that I will be using for this recipe.
Miso paste must be the last thing to add to the soup and when you add it the soup must not be boiling. Otherwise the healthy enzymes of the miso paste — the enzymes are formed in the fermentation process — will be destroyed.
Also, I highly suggest you to use a strainer to help you dissolve the miso paste into the soup without clumps.
What about the tofu?
Right now with all the buzz of vegan and vegetarian diets the access to tofu is way easier than years before.
Try to find a tofu block that doesn’t have a lot of porosity. A high porosity tofu will mean that it has a higher firmness and it won’t be as silky as a low porosity tofu.
For soups, the best type of tofu is a soft one. You want to dry the tofu before using it — you can use a paper towel to absorb excess moisture —- and after that, you can cut it into cubes of 1-inch thickness.
The tofu cooks kind of quickly, so it’s better to add it almost at last and let it cook for no more than 5 minutes.
Pack choi, what is that?
Pack choi is like the Asian baby of a spinach and a cabbage. It has a celery-like stalk and green leaves.
There is not much science about cooking pack choi. Just make sure is clean and you are ready to use it. You can add it along the tofu because they have similar cooking times.
If you can not find this ingredient you can totally use regular cabbage.
I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as I do and I see you in the next one!
- 1 ½ liter water
- 200 gr Tofu
- 100 gr mushrooms
- 1 big carrot
- 1 onion
- 1 spring onion
- 1 big pack choi
- 1 minced garlic
- Ginger zest
- 1 ½ tbsp red miso paste
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp canola oil
In a big stock pot heat the canola oil. Chop the spring onions and separate the white part from the green part. Toss the white part chopped thinly and save the green part for later. Cook for a couple minutes until the oil becomes fragrant.
Pour the water and when it boils toss the carrot and the onion cut into medium size pieces --- not so big to take forever to cook but not too small that they are going to fall apart while cooking.
When the carrot is tender fork add the tofu --- cut into 1-inch cubes ---, the pack choi leaves and the mushrooms. Season with soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger zest, and the minced garlic. Let it boil for 5 minutes.
Take the soup out of the stove and with the help of a strainer (see the picture above) incorporate the miso into the soup. The soup must not be boiling while you are adding the miso. Taste and adjust the salt.
Garnish with some spring onions ---- the green part --- chopped thinly. Serve hot.