I don’t know exactly what it is about miso soup, but I absolutely love it! Some say that it’s the umami – you know your 5th taste – that makes this soup so irresistible. I have been craving this soup for a couple of days so I finally made it. I don’t know if it’s the recently cold weather we have here in Charleston. It was in the mid 60’s on Christmas Day and I was thrilled it got cold enough the last two days that I could wear my new wool sweater that I got for Christmas. Anyway I guess that's why I have been craving soup!
Miso is one of those soups that can be made a hundred different ways. If you search the Internet for a miso soup recipe then you will see what I mean. I like mine pretty close to the traditional method. It is one of those recipes where you can use what you have on hand. Miso is fermented soybean paste. Its hard to describe but the taste is strangely reminiscent of Parmigiano-reggiano. I’ve never considered myself a big lover of tofu, but I have recently started cooking with it. It’s not as bad as you think it is. In most dishes it takes on the flavor of whatever it's in. However, if you don’t like tofu, feel free to leave it out. It doesn’t really make or break the dish. It just makes it more filling with the added protein.
Seaweed is used to make the dashi broth for the miso soup. The seaweed contains folate, calcium, iron, vitamin A, C, E, and K. It also contains iodine, which is necessary for proper thyroid functioning. The use of soy in the diet of estrogen-receptive breast cancer patients is somewhat controversial because of the isoflavinoids that mimic estrogen. On the advice of my doctor, I am allowed to have soy in moderation. If you have had estrogen receptive cancer consult your doctor for their approval. You could also omit the soy by leaving out the tofu and replacing the miso with adzuki bean miso if you prefer.
Note: be sure not to boil the miso paste after adding it to the soup. It can kill the natural probiotics that the miso naturally contains and it also destroys the flavor and consistency of the miso. You can also use instant dashi or chicken stock rather than making your own dashi like I did in the recipe.