Saturday, May 17, 2008

Awase Miso Soup Recipe

I can't take full credit for this since, its mostly wife's recipe, but hopefully I can show you some techniques to make a real awase miso shiru otherwise known as blended (red & white) miso soup.

Ingredients (1 serving size):
1 heaping Tbsp awase miso paste
1/2 green onion sprig
1/3 pkg soft or silken tofu
1 cup dashi (recipe below)

Red miso is a specialty in my wife's hometown of Nagoya, Japan. It has a much deeper more salty flavor than the more common shiro miso or white miso which is a little sweeter. If you blend them together, you get the best of both worlds. Luckily, the Japanese have already thought of this and sells a blended version known as awase miso. Of course if you can't find it at your local asian food market, you can always buy them separately and mix them yourself. Don't worry, this stuff is packed with salt so it will practically last forever.

Dashi is another major component of this and almost all other Japanese soups. Dashi is a broth made from either fish or a type of seaweed known as konbu. Typically, it is made bonito flakes, which are the shavings of a dried fish that you can buy at most asian food stores. To make it, you bring water close to a boil, add a bunch of flakes, let it steep for a few minutes then scoop out the flakes. We like the taste of bonito flakes, but its a pain to scoop them out so we buy bonito flakes prepackaged in tea bags (see photo on the left). Just like when making dashi with just the flakes, you should bring the water up to just before boiling before adding the bonito package. You must also keep the water from boiling while you steep the bonito flakes. If you let the water boil, the dashi will become bitter. Once your dashi gets a nice golden color and you can smell the ocean in it, you can remove the package and your dashi is done! You can also make a larger amount than needed and freeze the leftover dashi in a plastic container. My wife likes to freeze it in ice cube trays, but I think that will just make the rest of the food in the fridge smell fishy, hehe.
Once you have good dashi the rest is easy. Simply dissolve the red miso paste into the dashi. I find it helpful to use two spoons to smash the miso while submerged in the dashi. Its okay for there to be some bits that don't seem to dissolve. You must taste the soup as you are adding miso to ensure you have the right amount of saltiness. You will want it to be a little extra salty to compensate for the bland tofu you will be adding. Next dice your tofu into quarter inch size cubes and add them to the soup. Be sure to keep the soup from boiling after adding tofu or else your tofu will get tougher. Then serve in a miso soup bowl (something my wife requires), but if you don't have one, any bowl you don't mind sipping directly from will do. Finally, garnish with the finely chopped green onion.
Hope you enjoy it.

1 comment:

katoria said...

Miso soup is my favorite! thank you for sharing this recipe.