Miso soup is a traditional Japanese dish that is now popular across many other countries. Miso soup is very easy to prepare but it involves some key ingredients that give the soup its unique umami flavor. My recipe is adapted from the traditional Japanese recipe where I have eliminated the fish-based ingredients to make it suitable for Vegans and vegetarians. I have also enriched the flavors with some ingredients that are not used in the traditional recipe.
Miso soup is low-calorie, high-protein, and nutrient-rich as it combines some key ingredients that are known for their nutritional value, such as miso paste, dashi ( broth made with shiitake mushrooms), nori (edible seaweed) and toppings of spring onion and tofu. I have customized the basic recipe for miso soup by adding ginger, garlic, onion, cabbage, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. The added ingredients enhance the flavor profile of the traditional miso soup and make it appealing to different palates.
The secret to a good vegetarian miso soup lies in two main ingredients :
(1) Miso paste – Miso paste is made from fermenting soybeans with salt and koji (a mold). Miso paste contains probiotics created during the fermentation process – a healthy bacteria which can boost immunity and gut health. Miso paste is available in most grocery stores. To retain the good taste and health value of miso paste, we should add it to the soup just before removing it from the heat (do not boil the soup after adding the miso paste)
(2) Dashi – A type of stock used as a base in many Japanese foods. There are multiple variants of dashi based on the ingredients used. To make vegetarian dashi stock – we can either use kombu (kelp – a type of seaweed) or Shiitake mushrooms. I have used dried shiitake mushrooms to make shiitake dashi. I used store-bought dried shiitake mushrooms and soaked them to extract the juices. The extracts from shiitake mushrooms give a perfectly balanced umami flavor that made my soup almost as good as any restaurant-quality miso soup.
To enhance the umami flavor, I also added Nori (a dried edible seaweed used in Japanese cuisine, made from red algae that are often used in sushi) to my soup.
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Miso Soup (Vegan)
Vegan Miso soup recipe combines the rich umami flavors from shiitake mushroom, Nori and miso paste with the warm flavors of ginger and garlic - making it perfect digestive food
1. Prepare the Dashi broth
- Wash the dried shiitake mushrooms
- Bring the water to boil in a separate pan.
- Turn off the heat. Add the mushrooms and let them soak in the hot water.
- Keep the mushrooms in the water for at least an hour (it is ok to soak overnight for better flavor)
- After the mushrooms have soaked, filter the liquid. This is the shiitake dashi stock.
- Chop the mushrooms into small pieces as they can be used in the soup.
2. Prepare the ingredients
- Chop finely the onion and cabbage
- Squeeze the water from tofu and cut into small cubes (size as per your liking - smaller the better)
- Grate the ginger and garlic
- Separate the green and white parts of the spring onion. Cut each part into thin rings. We will use the green part for garnish and the white part in the soup base.
- Cut the nori sheets into thin strips using a scissor
3. Prepare the soup base
- Place a saucepan on the stove and add the oil
- When the oil is hot, add the onion, ginger, and garlic. Stir for about a minute on medium heat.
- Add the chopped mushrooms, cabbage, tofu and white onions. Stir for another 3-4 minutes.
- Add Soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and salt. Stir well.
- Add the dashi stock and bring the mixture to boil.
- Remove from heat after about 10 minutes of boiling
4. Add the miso paste
- Take about half a cup of hot soup in a separate bowl
- Add the miso paste and mix it well so that the mixture forms a slurry
- Add this miso slurry back to the bowl of soup and mix well.
- Take the desired quantity of miso soup in a serving bowl
- Garnish with spring onions (green parts) and nori strips
- Make sure to add the miso paste after the boiling is done and the soup is removed from heat. This will help protect the probiotic value of the fermented miso paste.
- If you would like the miso soup to be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator, complete all the steps except adding the miso paste. When you are ready to eat, the miso paste can be added after the soup has been heated.