There’s a whole lot more to miso soup than that white cup of salty broth you buy with your sushi. By now you probably know what miso itself is, but what about miso soup? Well, it’s a traditional Japanese soup typically made from miso and a Japanese stock known as dashi. Both of these ingredients are an umami flavour-bomb (savoury taste), and that’s why curling up with a hot cup of miso soup makes you feel so good.
Dashi recipes vary from region to region and are, of course, dependant on the recipe, but it’s most commonly made from kombu (dried kelp), dried shiitake mushrooms and bonito flakes, among a few other ingredients – sometimes even dried baby sardines! If you’re wondering what bonito flakes are… well, they’re dried Skipjack tuna. While it may sound weird, it’s common in Asian cooking and other cultures to use ingredients with strong flavours to give dishes a real kick! Some cultures even use animal bones and feet to make a basic stock – same, same but different, we guess!
But don’t fret, vegetarian dashi is made from a combination of seaweed and dried mushrooms to achieve that same flavour sensation.
What else is in miso soup?
Most often tofu and seaweed are added to the soup, specifically a type of seaweed known as wakame. In fact, wakame is said to be a powerhouse of nutrition as it’s harvested from the ocean which is a rich source of nutrients like iodine to support your metabolism and magnesium for anxiety support, just to name a few.
With that said, miso soup can have a variety of other ingredients and some people even add different types of veggies. These can be added to the dashi while boiling to give them time to cook, or even added afterwards to the miso soup itself.
Our pro tip? Miso shouldn’t be boiled. It’s best added to hot but not boiling dashi, to preserve its inherent goodness.
But, why is miso soup so good for you?
We’ve spoken about the benefits of miso before. But, the main reason it’s so good for you is that not only do you get all the goodness from the koji (the culture used to make miso), but you also absorb the benefits of the dashi (this healing broth extracts the nutrients from the ingredients we mentioned above). This means the nutrients are readily available for your body to absorb. It’s no wonder that in the Okinawa, where some of the longest living people in the world reside, miso soup is a fundamental daily staple.
Tips to boost your miso…
- SPICE IT UP: Add ½ teaspoon of grated fresh ginger and a sprinkle of chilli flakes for a fiery kick!
- FRESHEN YOUR BREW: Add a sprinkle of fresh coriander and a squeeze of lime.
- BULK IT UP: Add your leftover cooked rice or rice noodles, and a bunch of lightly cooked veggies. You can even add a boiled egg to boost your protein intake too. Yum!
If you don’t have the time or ingredients to make your own dashi, you can always enjoy our Meru Miso sachets by simply adding the contents of the sachets to hot water. We created our sachets to give you the freedom and flexibility to pack them with you and go - perfect on flights.
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