Sunday, September 13, 2009

Miso Soup

Now that I'm home and cooking dinner for my dad, I'm trying to come up with quick and easy dinner ideas. Let's face it ladies, even though I have all the time in the world to cook elaborate meals all day, I have other things vying for my attention. Kids? negative. Husband? negative. Random hobbies? precisely. =)

My cousin D always asks me for quick and easy meals since she's in school and my friend K and I always trade tips at what to buy at the Korean market or TJ's for dinner. It really is so convenient living in LA, especially because we have a plethora of Korean markets, I can count 4 that I know of on Western Ave alone. What's great about these markets is not only their fresh produce, but they have premade food. They have marinated kalbi and bulgogi, prepared side dishes and even prepared soups. If you are ever pressed for time, you can just grab a couple premade items from the market and you have dinner. But I'm sure it adds up and it's just as easy to make some of these items from home.

So I'll share with you some easy dinner recipes with you in the future. But for now, I'll share with you a recipe for miso soup. I don't know how it is in your household, but growing up, we always had some sort of soup or jigae (Korean stew) with our meals. There's usually rice, a couple of side dishes, a meat or fish dish, and soup or jigae. This is really easy to whip up when you're in need of a quick and simple soup. I think I've even seen instant miso soup, so you can use that if you're really in a rush. =)

Miso Soup

6 cups of water
1 cup of dried bonito flakes
2 - 3 tablespoons of miso paste
10 oz soft tofu, cut into small cubes
4 green onions, chopped
a piece of kombu (optional)

First you make the dashi with kombu and bonito flakes. Tear off a piece of kombu, which is basically a thick piece of seaweed, and wipe with a wet paper towel to remove any dirt. Place the kombu in a saucepan with 6 cups of water and bring the water to a boil. If you aren't using the kombu, just bring the water to a boil.
Stir in the bonito flakes, turn off the heat and let it rest for several minutes.
Strain the broth through a fine sieve, pressing out all of the broth and discard the used kombu and bonito flakes. What I do is take another saucepan, place a sieve on top and just transfer the broth to the other saucepan. Here's the strained broth.
In a separate bowl, whisk the miso paste with about 1 cup of the hot broth until the paste is fully dissolved.
Trust me, I've tried to dissolve the paste in the saucepan all together, but it's quite unwieldy trying to find that paste again once it's in the sea of kombu and bonito goodness. Cut the block of tofu into cubes and add to the broth. Turn the heat back on and make sure the tofu has been heated all the way through.
Turn off the heat and now add the miso paste mixture to the broth. Stir it together and you are ready to serve. Chop the green onions and add them as a garnish when you are ready to serve. This is a versatile recipe because you can jazz up the soup by adding seaweed, clams or mushrooms.


  1. um, whoa. this is fancy miso soup. haha i think it's funny your version of easy is my idea of fancy. what is all this dashi and straining business? so much effort. im sure it tastes 100x better but oh my.

    my nicer version is miso + boiling water + tofu cubes all together thrown in and chopped green onions after. 1.5 steps! woohoo :)

    but, this is all a sham because i dont even make miso soup at home. i cant get myself over to the korean market to get miso even and i dont have the luxuries of having it close by. sad.

  2. hahaha, it's actually pretty quick if you have all the ingredients ready to go. Yes you can omit dashi, but it doesn't have that depth of flavor. You should try the instant miso soup. They have dehydrated green onions in the mix too. It's pretty tasty. Want me to mail you some?

  3. Aww thanks lady. No, it's ok. I mean they have that stuff at JoongBoo Market I'm sure. I just havent looked. I am trying hard not to buy too many instant things though because I feel like I should force myself to make things on my own with fresh ingredients. Also the sodium makes me look like a puffer fish. :-/