How to make miso soup – Autumn edition
Hi! long time no see. It’s almost winter. The 2020 olympics are just around the corner. I left my job. I’m an uncle now. My aunt is visiting Tokyo and I’ve had a good deal of wine. Growing up in Arizona I was used to the seasons doing very, very little. I remembered it snowed once when I was 17. It was winter holidays and a friend came over and we had a sneaky 17 year old cigarette in the backyard and it started snowing. Madness. Seasons in Arizona usually mean it’s great swimming weather or it’s too hot to swim.
Seasons in Japan however mean it’s time switch out the ingredients in your miso soup. So let’s learn how to make miso soup with a vegetable that most American’s 40 and under will only recognize from Super Mario Bros. 2.
Cut the Stems
Before we learn how to make miso soup (which is easy) we just need to get our main vegetable ready. Start by cutting off the stem of the turnip at the point where the leaves start to spread out. Basically, we want to leave a little, celery-like crown on the top of the turnip. Then save the leaves for later. Don’t throw them away. Them’s good eatin’!
Cut off the roots
Once you’ve cut off the stems, give the turnips a quick rinse under some cold water. Then, slice off the base of the turnip where it begins to turn into a root.
Peel the turnips
Turnips have a rough outer layer that is not much fun to eat. Peel it off but do your best to leave the green stem on top in tact. Try your best to remove the rough bits around the stem on the top of the turnip.
Slice in half
Slice the turnips in half length-wise as shown in the photo. Again, be sure to leave the stem in tact. That bit is delicious and makes these guys extra fun to eat.
Add turnips and dashi to a saucepan
Fill a saucepan just over half full with water. Then add a dashi pack and turnips and put on high heat until it boils. What’s dashi, you ask? It’s the base of all Japanese cooking. It’s the bouillon cube of french cooking, the alcohol in your wine, the olive in your martini. It’s a broth of kelp and bonito. You can buy it in tea bag forms and it’s really easy to use.
Here is a package of dashi I found on Amazon. You can buy it at most asian grocers. It’s just a not fishy smelling soup stock. Add it to the water at the same time as the turnips and let it boil for a good 15 minutes.
After about 15 minutes the water will have turned a pleasant, brown borth color. It’s time to stir in a big spoonful of miso. The amount will depend on your tastes. Start small. Miso is flavorful and salty. Test the broth as you add the miso and simply stop when it seems salty enough. Once you’re done, cover again and let the turnips, dashi pack and miso boil for about 2-3 minutes.
Remove the dasi from the soup. Try to squeeze out the remaining broth from the pack. You can place the pack into a bowl, put pressure on it with a spoon or chopsticks and let the broth drip back into the saucepan. Don’t be wasteful. After you remove the pack, once again put the lid back on and turn off the heat. In the meantime…
Slice the turnip greens
Slice the turnip greens into various lengths. Let the soup have some texture by not making the slices uniform.
Add turnip greens
Next, simply add the turnip greens to the soup. Put the lid back on and let it simmer for 2 minutes. Remember, do not have the heat on at this point. You dont want the leaves to overcook and go limp.
Now all you have to do is serve and enjoy. This soup goes great with white rice and pretty much any meat dish. It goes particularly well with grilled fish like cod or salmon. It pairs with anything in my opinion though. This could easily be eaten with a steak and salad. This is one of my favorite soups to eat as it is and the best part is you can change the main vegetable to pretty much anything thats in season. It’s only 3 ingredients.
Now you know how to make miso soup.
I even made a little video of Takao making this if you want to follow along. Give it a go. It’s so simple and absurdly healthy.