I’ve been cooking Japanese food for more than 10 years now. It’s hard to imagine that I’ll actually come to love Japanese cooking especially when I recall how I detest the taste and smell of some Japanese dishes when I first came to Japan 14 years ago.
I have friends prodding me to show them how to cook Japanese dishes and I thought I’d start this weekly feature on my blog to share with friends who can’t come visit me in my kitchen.
First up is basic miso soup with wakame (Pristine’s favorite). Miso soup or miso-shiru is a traditional Japanese soup present in most (if not every!) Japanese meal. I’ll tell you my first encounter with miso soup 14 years ago – I was scared to touch it! To me it smelled and looked weird. When I stirred my soup bowl, it looked like I was served an aquarium with foggy water!
But because it is present in our every meal at the dormitory canteen, I came to like it. Unbelievable but true. So off with the recipe!
The ingredients: Wakame Seaweed (dried), Red Miso Paste, Hon Dashi Granules and spring onions. Simple, eh?
For non-Japanese speakers/readers, the miso is the one on the left (I tilted the package), the box with the blue fish is the dashi granules – dashi gives flavor to the soup and is a basic ingredient in most Japanese dishes. The green plastic on the right is the dried wakame seaweed.
1. Get a small pot and fill it with water 3/4 to the brim. Allow the water to boil.
2. For the meantime, place water in small bowl and add two pinches of dried wakame seaweed. This packed dried wakame is deceiving, you’d think it’s expensive but they’ll last long because they expand TEN FOLD!
3. When the water boils, add dashi granules then add the expanded wakame. Do not overcook the wakame seaweed.
4. After about 2 minutes, add a spoonful of miso paste to the boiling soup, carefully stirring to avoid miso lumps.
Note: You can avoid miso lumps by doing either: (1) Removing a small amount of soup from the boiling pot, place in a separate bowl and adding the miso paste, mixing it thoroughly or (2) Placing the miso paste in a strainer then immersing the strainer in the dashi soup while pressing the miso through the sieve at the back of the spoon.
With this first recipe feature, I confess to the world: I am a shortcut cook. Some Japanese cooking require tedious and meticulous work, those things that scare foreign people from making it. My quest is to make it more simple, easy and encouraging for other non-Japanese folks to try!
Where were we? Sorry, I talk too much.
5. Right after adding the miso paste, lower the fire and add the sliced spring onions. Do not let it boil. Remove from fire and serve.
Miso soup is the one on the left. Others on the mat are vinegared cucumber salad (also with wakame), a bowl of takikomi gohan (rice cooked with seasonings, vegetables and sometimes, meat) and a glass of mugi cha (barley tea).
Whew, I didn’t know writing about a basic miso soup recipe would require a long post! But see? it’s simple and not so scary at all!
Dozo, meshi agare! (Enjoy your meal!)
UAE/Dubai residents can get various Japanese ingredients from the Japanese store, Dean’s Fujiya located near Lamcy Plaza in Bur Dubai. Telephone: 04-337-0401.
Looks good. I like Miso soup, but I don’t cook it at home. We do, have a restaurant close by that serves Japanese food.
.-= Maribeth´s last blog ..Man & Dogs =-.
wow, this sure looks a good meal 🙂
.-= Edez´s last blog ..Weekend Random =-.
Thanks for the recipe, my mother in law bought some miso a couple of weeks ago but had no idea what to do with it so it sits in the freezer now and she told me I could use it whenever I wanted. I think I’ll try this sometime this week.
.-= Christy´s last blog ..Ditching the Poo =-.
Thank you Grace for sharing your recipe. Please post most common ingredients I need so I will do one trip to the grocery. Thanks again =)
More in the weeks to come! Most common ingredients for miso soup would be tofu, wakame seaweed, leafy vegetables like spinnach, shiitake mushrooms, radish, etc.
You just have to make sure you have the dashi granules and the miso paste and you’re good to go!
This is so valuable Grace. Can you imagine I live right here in Japan and have no idea how to cook anything Japanese. I just go to the supermarket and stare at the stuff. It took me about one year to get accustomed to the taste of miso. I buy the “just add water” type, and look forward to getting it when I go to Japanese restaurants.
Looking forward to more. Thanks.
.-= Anuan´s last blog ..A Night Hike To Minoo Falls =-.
Great to hear that you like it! I will be posting more recipes, every Sunday. I have learned and loved to cook Japanese that I forgot cooking my own native dishes while I was there!
Wow, I also only know the “add water” type of miso, and I had no idea that something like Wakame existed! I will check my Asian store here and get the ingredients, that recipe sounds delicous! Thanks for posting Grace, can’t wait to see some more recipes! 🙂
You can actually add anything to a miso soup: tofu slices, leeks, radish, spinnach, shiitake mushrooms…as long as you have those dashi granules and miso paste, your miso soup will taste authentic.
Thaaaaaaanks………………….. and thank you also for having the initiative to add the name of the store ‘coz I look like a gungho when they asked me where to buy the ingredients… I just said near Lamcy ..hahahahaha….. By the way, please post the ingredients of that breading mix where they put on fried eggplant or is there a ready made for that…… hahahaha… very demanding …. ug nakabantay ka si kinsa ang isa…hahahah;-)
We are just being interested 😉 bought mirin, tofu and miso paste today. I’ll have Japan visit our table for lunch tomorrow
Looks really good. Thanks for the recipe, got to try that.
I was the same way about Japanese food when I first encountered it. It’s funny because I really crave and love it now! Actually that meal you prepared looks fantastic and I know after eating it, you feel good too.
.-= Mary R´s last blog ..Island Faces and Happiness =-.
Thanks for visiting my blog! You know, when I was new in Japan, every time I buy onigiri at convenient stores, I would unwrap the nori wrapping and throw it in the bin!! After gathering some courage, I tried it and felt so ridiculous of what I did! I love nori now – making maki rolls, to put in cold soba noodles, hot ramen soup or just to wrap my white rice in!
Thanks for the guide and recipe. Keep writing great Japanese cooking 🙂