I don’t know if it is my undying admiration for martial arts (check <— that out!) and those that practice them or my deep curiosity of Japanese culture and their food, but I love miso soup. I’m also willing to throw in some less desirable accountability and admit that part of its attraction is its ease. Boil some water and you are practically half way there. But there are more respectable ways to dress this bowl of steaming umami, and many, many days I do indulge myself in trying them out. This one here has come to be one of my favorites because I feel like it includes all of the necessary flavors and it packs a nutritional punch.
A pile of aromatic white rice sits in a rich miso broth that slowly infuses with the more forward flavors of ginger, garlic and lemon. Why the lemon, you ask? Mostly I add it because this happens to also be my soup of choice when I’m sick, as it adds a kick of Vitamin C. It also reminds me of my favorite go-to when feeling under the weather, Garlic-Ginger-Cayenne Lemonade. Not a terribly romantic name, but certainly straightforward. That being said, I will add that the soup doesn’t come off as super lemony, so don’t be deterred if the thought of lemon soup sounds awful to you. It just adds a nice brightness to the broth.
As you mince your garlic, ginger, and scallions, don’t worry if you are not super handy with a knife. While it is definitely more apropos to have more finely chopped aromatics, I wouldn’t call it a deal breaker by any means if you are more of a lazy chopper. The last addition I made was a couple leaves of basil, another aromatic. With all of those aromatics, congestion doesn’t have a chance!
A note about the seaweed- make sure to source your seaweed from a reputable provider somewhere on an Atlantic Coast. I’m sure that all of our oceans have their imperfections and pollutants, but I don’t like the idea of eating radioactive seaweed. Just a thought. : )
2 T plus chickpea miso paste (feel free to experiment with the different flavors that the different aged misos offer. i also like to go for the chickpea miso and just skip the concern about soy altogether.)
2 stalks of scallion
1 knuckle of ginger, minced
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of rice, cooked
a few basil leaves
1 ounce of firm tofu (or silken if you prefer), cut into cubes
dulse, cut into strips
Begin by starting your rice on the stovetop. Then more to your cutting board and mince the garlic and the ginger, and chop your scallions. Once those are all chopped and sitting pretty on the board, check your rice. Once your rice has completely cooked, heat a cup of water in the kettle. While it heats, cube your tofu and cut your dulse into strips. As the kettle whistles, take it off the heat and plop (what a terrible word to describe food… sorry) your miso paste into the bottom of a bowl. After giving the water a minute to come off boiling temperature (but not too long!), pour just a bit of water in and mix it into the paste. If you skip this step, your broth will be lumpy, so be sure to not miss it! Once this is done, pour the rest of the water into the bowl and continue to stir. Now you can construct the rest of your bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients carefully and make a masterpiece, or to hell with it, and just dump it all in there and be done with it. Whichever you choose, certainly enjoy!