There is nothing traditional about this soup; I combine the flavors I enjoy, which are miso and rice vinegar, and combine them with the vegetables I have on hand. My favorite way to make this soup is to use leftover stir-fry vegetables. Not only am I re-purposing leftovers, I only have to heat up some vegetables.
I have learned a few key lessons from making this soup over and over again.
- Real miso soup uses dashi, a stock made from seaweed and dried tuna. I am too cheap to do this. I use one-half of a chicken or vegetable bouillon cube.
- Dried mushrooms really do add a lot of flavor. Before starting the stock, I soak 3 or so pieces of dried mushroom in a small bowl. When I begin to heat the water or stock up, I add the mushrooms and the soaking liquid. Dried mushrooms can be pricey. I have found the cheapest dried mushrooms to be dried shitakes from the Asian market.
- The miso I like to use isn't completely smooth. I have a small, fine-mesh sieve where I place the miso. Using the back of a spoon, I make sure not to completely submerge the strainer in the broth and negate the whole point of this step, and push the miso through the strainer leaving behind the fine bits of rice.
- To make it hot, freshly ground white pepper is frequently used. I buy just a bit in the bulk. This stuff is spicy! Use with caution. If available, I prefer to add spice with fresh chilies. About 1/4-1/3 of a jalapeno is enough to add spice without being overpowering. Red jalapenos or Fresnos are especially tasty in this soup.
Hot and Sour Miso Soup
Ingredients (serves 1)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/4-1/3 chile, seeds removed and finely minced
- 1/4 cup carrot, chopped
- 1/4 cup zucchini, chopped
- 1/4-1/2 cup kale or other greens like bok choy, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup edamame, thawed
- 1/2 chicken or vegetable bouillon cube
- 2 tablespoons miso
- 3 cups water
- White pepper, freshly ground, to taste
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, more or less to taste
In a small soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat water in a separate pot or hot water kettle while vegetables are cooking.
Add the remaining vegetables. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes.
Add water and bouillon cube, bring to a gentle boil, and make sure the bouillon is dissolved.
Remove the pot from the heat and add miso. If a smooth consistency is desired, place miso in a small fine-mesh sieve and push through into the soup. Mix until combined.
To serve, garnish with freshly ground white pepper, if desired. Add rice vinegar.
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