Tuesday, March 14, 2017

How to Make the Perfect Bowl of Miso Soup

Too many times, we encounter a mediocre bowl of miso soup, even at restaurants in Japan. It's one of the simplest things to make, yet too many people don't take great care in making this humble soup. I hate to say this, but even my mother kind of sucks at making miso soup but that's because she's lazy and even she admits it.

Today we're going to show you how to make the perfect bowl of miso soup from scratch. Of course if you follow our tips, you can just use the packaged dashi stock to save lots of time.


2-3 sticks of Konbu (dried kelp) 3 inches in length
2 cups water
2 cups bonito flakes
1/2-1/3 block tofu 
2 tsp dried wakame 
2 tbsp miso
green onions, chopped


We’ll use 2 to 3 sticks of konbu, 3 inches in length. Wipe the surface with a damp paper towel. Do not wash in water as this will take away the umami that’s necessary for the dashi. Put 2 and ½ cups of water in a saucepan along with the konbu and let it soak for 30 minutes. Turn on the heat and remove just before boiling. Don’t discard the kombu as we’ll use that later. Once it comes to a boil, turn off the heat. Add in 2 cups of bonito flakes and let it sit for 2-3 minutes.

Set a colander on a bowl and lay a couple of sheets of paper towel on top. Pour the stock into the colander. Do not push or squeeze the bonito flakes. Just let the stock filter naturally. Keep the bonito flakes for later use. We’ll show you what to make with the leftover konbu and bonito flakes at the end of this video. This will make approximately 2 cups of dashi stock. Pour dashi back into the saucepan. If you don’t have time to make dashi stock from scratch, just use a pack of instant dashi. If you do, make sure to add it to water that has been boiled, never before.

Let’s prepare the wakame and tofu. Soak 2 teaspoons of dried wakame in water for 5-10 minutes to soften. If you don’t have time, you can simply add it directly into the soup. Depending on the type of wakame, soaking may be necessary to remove excess salt so be sure to read the package. Next let’s add the tofu. You can use ⅓ to ½ of one block of firm or soft tofu, whichever you prefer. Today we’re using soft tofu because I like the smooth texture. Cut the tofu into small thin blocks for easy heating.

Now that the ingredients are ready, bring the dashi stock to a boil one more time. If you’re using ingredients that you need to cook longer like carrots or radish, boil it with the stock at this time. Tofu and wakame is very easy to cook and edible as it is, so I recommend adding them after the miso. Once the dashi comes to a boil, turn off the heat. How much miso to add really depends on the brand, but a good rule of thumb is to add 1 tbsp miso to a cup of dashi stock. You can always add more if necessary.

If you have a misokoshi, a tool specifically used to make miso soup, that’s great. But if you’re like us and don’t own one, just use a ladle and chopsticks. Make sure to dissolve the miso completely or else you’ll get lumps of salty miso in your soup. Once miso is dissolved, heat until just before boiling. You don’t want to boil the stock at this point as this will change the flavor of the miso.

Add in the wakame and tofu at this point. Tofu and wakame is very easy to cook and edible as it is, so I recommend adding them after the miso. If you like your miso soup very hot, heat gently until just before boiling. And your miso soup is done! If you are using the instant dashi, add a pinch of it at this point to add additional aroma and flavor. Pour into individual bowls and add chopped green onions if desired.

So what do you do with the leftover konbu and bonito flakes? Here's a simple recipe for tsukudani, which is best eaten with hot rice and is delicious!

First, cut the konbu thinly. Squeeze the bonito flakes of excess moisture, then roughly chop into smaller pieces. Put them into a saucepan and add a quarter cup of water. Once it has come to a boil, add in 1 tbsp of sugar. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add in 2 tbsp of soy sauce. Simmer over low heat until the liquid has evaporated. This keeps in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for few days and is great on steamed rice! Enjoy!

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