Thursday, February 9, 2012

Miso Soup with Shrimp

Like so many of the less-than-standard ingredients I have at home, the red miso and shiratiki noodles in my refrigerator were bought on a lark. Inspired by the many bowls of miso soup I've enjoyed while out for sushi, I make simple miso soup at home on a regular basis, but a healthy supply of miso paste still remains in the fridge without any particular destiny. I typically think of miso soup as a light side, but a recipe from Whole Foods Market inspired me to make this much more substantial dish.

Even though I used what is considered a relatively intense miso (red), but I still found this soup to be full of flavor without being overly assertive. A welcome change from my usual weekly fish/seafood dinner, this combination of delicious shrimp and fresh broccoli, accented by a touch of spice, is far more satisfying than something so surprisingly low calorie seems like it could be. Shirataki noodles, although becoming much more common in grocery stores, may be impossible to find for those not in larger cities, so feel free to use 4 ounces of udon or soba noodles (or even whole wheat spaghetti) instead (as in the original Whole Foods recipe).

In addition to relishing in the beautiful flavor profile, I was particularly delighted by how quickly this entire meal came together and that none of the ingredients need much in the way of prep. A great way for fans of Asian food to enjoy classic flavors, but also a gentle introduction to the uninitiated, this soup (or some variation thereof) is sure to make it back onto my dinner table, hopefully getting a chance to grace yours as well.

Miso Soup with Shrimp
adapted from Whole Foods Market
serves 4 as a first course or 2 to 3 as a main

6 cups vegetable or low-sodium chicken broth
8 ounce package tofu shirataki noodles (I used spaghetti-style)
1/2 pound frozen peeled and deveined shrimp, uncooked
1/2 pound (about 2 1/2 cups) fresh or frozen broccoli florets
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons miso (darker miso will have a more intense flavor; I used red)
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

1. Cook shirataki noodles according to package directions and set aside.

2. In a large pot, bring broth to a boil. Add shrimp and broccoli, cover and simmer until shrimp are just cooked through and broccoli is bright green, 4 to 5 minutes.  During the last few minutes of cooking time, add the shirataki noodles and cook until warmed through. Meanwhile, whisk together water, miso and ginger in a medium bowl until smooth; set aside.

3. Turn off heat and uncover pot. Stir in miso mixture and green onions then transfer soup to bowls. Garnish with pepper flakes and serve.

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