FACT: As the weather begins to finally cool down at night, the cravings for simple soups and broths increase.
FACT: Instant miso soup is actually really delicious and cheap. It’s also instant.
FACT: Time-saving meals are the best kind.
Miso is a paste made from fermented soybean (most common), barley, or rice. It is mixed with dashi stock to make miso soup. Miso soup and rice is a staple of a Japanese diet. Very often miso soup is served with tofu and wakame (a green seaweed).
Instant miso soup can come in the form of powder, concentrated liquid stock (what I use because it comes in convenient little sachets), or as a paste.
With almost any meal, it’s really easy to start with a base and build things. Miso soup becomes a meal with the addition of a few things.
Here I keep things simple by adding thick egg noodles, bean curd skin, egg, tofu and mushrooms.
Serves: 2 (and a bit – extras for lunch!)
- Instant miso – enough for two people, this was 2 sachets with the individualised liquid stock.
- 2 sticks of dried bean curd skin, broken into fragments and soaked in boiling water for at least 1 hour (can be found at Asian supermarkets, looks similiar to this and this).
- 1 cup button mushrooms, quartered
- 2 portions of fresh egg noodles (I had frozen egg noodles and just thawed these out. The great thing about fresh egg noodles from Asian supermarkets is that they’re usually portioned for four, just take out/snap off what you need!)
- 100g soft/silken tofu, diced
- 1 egg, whisked
- 3 cups water
- Boil water and cook noodles according to instructions. Or stick noodles into boiling water, stir to break up the strands. Drain when cooked.
- Meanwhile, boil 3 cups of water in another pot. Add miso soup stock and dissolve. Add mushrooms and softened bean curd skin, bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer for 15 minutes.
- Now for the egg drop/egg flower. The trick to this is to start stirring the soup whilst you slowly drizzle egg into the pot. Do this at a medium heat so that it cooks the egg. Too low and the egg turns the soup, well, eggy and cloudy. Doing little zigzags results in long, silky strands too.
- Add noodles, breaking them up – it’ll have all stuck together by now 😉 and then add tofu. Give a good stir. Serve (noodle first then ladle soup over it!). Enjoy!
Depending on how salty your choice of miso is you can add a bit of light soy sauce to taste. A few drops of sesame oil makes it smell amazing too.
Making the egg drop or egg flower (because it resembles delicate petals when done correctly) is a very common technique for pretty-ing up Chinese soups. It takes practice and you’ll figure it out after playing with temperature, how fast you stir the soup, etc. Plus, it’s a good way to add a source of protein!
Obviously with something as simple as this you can add almost any ingredient. I find that the earthiness of mushrooms always compliment miso soup really well. You could use other types of mushrooms to make it more authentic, i.e. shiitake, oyster, enoki. Adding some bok choy or other leafy Asian green veg is a good way to get more veggies in this meal too. A few slices of red chilli would be delicious (and helps add a boost to your metabolism too!). Of course, meats (poultry and seafood are good!) could be added to the soup as well.
You could also use other types of noodles, i.e. udon noodles which would make this much more traditonally Japanese.