Did you know that some people in Japan and the Ukraine were fed miso soup to help treat their radiation sickness after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? It’s true! Are you aware that consuming one bowl of miso soup per day could drastically lower the risks of breast cancer? Well, researchers have found that to be true too!
It is no wonder that consuming more homemade miso soup was one of my New Year’s resolutions for the upcoming year. What exactly is miso? Miso is a fermented soybean paste with a salty taste, a buttery texture and a unique nutritional profile. Since miso is an enzyme-rich food containing many beneficial microorganisms, you must be careful not to overcook or boil miso which would kill these beneficial properties.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF MISO SOUP
In addition to providing protection from radiation and lowering the risks of breast cancer, miso has also been known to…
-reduce the risks of prostate, lung and colon cancers;
-restore beneficial probiotics to the intestines which aid in the digestive process;
-help lower LDL cholesterol;
-provide anti-aging benefits due to its high antioxidants;
-strengthen the quality of blood and lymph fluid;
-strengthen the immune system and combat infection;
-provide a good vegetable source of B vitamins;
-protect against free radicals;
-contain all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein; and
-provide relief for menopausal symptoms (I wish I knew about this one a bit earlier!).
Clearly, learning to master a simple miso soup recipe would be a good thing. A really good thing!
Last night, I made a batch of miso soup for dinner. I combined two simple recipes because I couldn’t decide which one to use. The first recipe was a traditional one containing wakame seaweed. I used the “Emerald Cove” brand of wakame because it’s pre-cut and ready to use.
The second recipe omitted the wakame, but incorporated some finely chopped greens. As previously mentioned, I could not decide which recipe to use so I combined them both. I think my soup had too much stuff in it, although it was certainly nutrient dense. Next time, I think I will make a more simple miso soup using just one of the two recipes provided at the end of this post; however, I will show you how I made my miso soup last night in case you are in the mood to flood your body with nutrients.
I started off with the following ingredients…
I began by preparing the wakame. I rinsed 3 tablespoons of dried, pre-cut wakame and soaked it in cold water for 10 minutes. It was drained promptly after 10 minutes.
While the wakame was soaking, I sliced 2 medium-sized carrots and 1 onion (sliced thinly) and I finely chopped 2 cups of greens.
Next, I heated 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a heavy pot. Then, I added the sliced onions and carrots which I sauteed for 2 to 3 minutes.
I added 6 cups of water to the pot which I brought to a boil. After the water began boiling, I lowered the heat and simmered for 10 minutes.
Then, I added the wakame and the chopped greens to the broth and simmered for 2 to 3 more minutes.
I took the pot off of the heat to let the broth cool down a bit, so that it would not be boiling or too hot.
In a separate bowl, I mixed 3-4 tablespoons of barley miso with a little of the broth from the pot. I mixed the miso until it dissolved.
I then added the dissolved miso into the pot and allowed the soup to steep briefly before serving. I garnished the soup with parsley.
Here are some photos showing the process…
You can see from these photos that there may have been too many ingredients in my miso soup. I would suggest that you choose one of the two easy miso soup recipes set forth below. Please note that you could choose any type of miso you desire to make your soup. The darker the color of the miso, the more robust the flavor and saltiness; the lighter the color, the more delicate the flavor. May I suggest using a barley or red miso for the winter months and a lighter white miso in the warmer weather?
*Please remember never to overcook or boil miso because you risk destroying its beneficial microflora and enzymes. Remove your pot of broth from the heat and let cool a bit before adding the miso (which was dissolved in a separate bowl with the cooled down broth) into the pot of soup. Here are two easy miso soup recipes…
TRADITIONAL WAKAME MISO SOUP
6 cups of water
1 medium carrot, sliced
3 tablespoons of pre-cut & rinsed wakame seaweed
2 scallions, sliced
3-4 tablespoons miso (color of your choice or mix colors, if you wish)
Soak the wakame in cold water for 10 minutes and drain promptly.
Add carrot slices to 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Then, lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.
When carrots are tender, add wakame to the stock and simmer for one minute. Then add scallions and simmer another minute.
Remove from the heat.
In a small bowl, dissolve miso in some of the broth and return to pot.
Allow to steep briefly before serving.
MISO SOUP WITH GREENS
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 medium-sized carrots, sliced diagonally
2 cups finely chopped greens
6 cups of water
3-4 tablespoons miso (color of your choice or you can mix colors)
Heat oil in a heavy pot. Add onions and carrots and saute for about 2-3 minutes.
Add water to the pot, loosely cover, and bring to a boil; then, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add greens and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Take the pot off of the heat.
In a separate bowl, mix miso with a little of the broth from the pot. Add the dissolved miso back into the pot with the broth.
Allow the soup to steep briefly before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley.