Thursday, July 14, 2011

Miso Soup with Garlic and Ginger

I'm up for sushi pretty much any time, and although I'm not quite brave enough to attempt making my own at home yet, I thought I'd try making one of the most common sides at sushi/Japanese restaurants, miso soup. Every time I walk past the miso at Whole Foods or Willy St. Co-op I'm tempted to buy some to experiment with, but it took having an actual recipe in hand to get me take the plunge. Miso soup is usually served as a first course, but I found this recipe with more substance than your typical miso soup and served it as a main course (serves 4) for a lovely, light summer dinner. I'm the first to admit its not traditional, especially with a side salad and roll, but it is a wonderful way to use plentiful summer produce and enjoy the unique flavor of miso. This soup is mild and refreshing, thought you may want to increase the amount of miso for a more assertive flavor. 

Now that I have a big container of miso, I anticipate making miso soup on a regular basis as well as encorporating it into all manner of sauces, marinades, and salad dressings. I'm always game for experimenting with new ingredients and opening up my culinary landscape and I can't wait to dive into the world of Japanese food, from miso soup and sushi to teriyaki and hibachi. Food is one of the most fundamental ways to learn about a culture and I look forward to what I'll learn on this new culinary path.

Miso Soup with Garlic and Ginger
from Whole Foods
serves 8

1 tablespoon unrefined sesame oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
6 cups vegetable broth or water
2 baby bok choy, trimmed and roughly chopped
1/2 pound carrots, thinly sliced
1 (8-ounce) package baked tofu, preferably Asian- flavored, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons red miso
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add yellow onion, ginger and garlic and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add broth, bok choy, carrots and tofu and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, 5 to 10 minutes more. Remove soup from heat.

2. Ladle about 1 cup of the hot broth into a small bowl. Add miso and stir until dissolved, then transfer mixture back to pot and stir well. Stir in vinegar, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with green onions.

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