Sometimes, the most simple dishes are the most wonderful. I’m always surprised how many people tell me that they love miso soup. It seems to be pretty popular these days and is served at any Japanese restaurant. I grew up on the stuff and raised my daughter on it too. Miso is a soy bean paste……..very salty, a bit sweet, with an intense flavor of goodness. There is a white miso paste…which is a whiter, lighter color. Then there is red miso paste, which is a darker reddish brown color and its a bit more intense in flavor. I like both. A lot. You only need a little bit since it’s very intense. I must tell you, miso has a lot of sodium. 😦 It’s a good thing you only need a little bit. But it also has antioxidants and it is good for digestion. It’s made from soy beans, and we all know how good they are for us.
You can use this stuff to make the best salad dressing, in barbecue sauces, in marinades, etc. I love it smeared lightly all over a steak, chicken or a piece of fish and slap that piece of meat on the grill. OMG! Miso-like-it! haha, sorry…..I couldn’t resist saying that…me-so-like. hahahaha. Ok, ok, enough.
If you are familiar with Japanese food, you probably have heard of ONIGIRI. Onigiri’s are just rice balls…..yep, rice shaped in a semi ball shape and often filled with a little something. When I was a child, oh so many rice balls ago, my mom would make onigiris with a light layer of miso paste spread all over the rice ball. Simple but so yummy. It’s still a favorite of mine.
But with all that being said, this recipe is for the basic miso soup that I grew up on and still make today. I always add tofu and fresh spinach and then I ladle it over a bowl of rice. But traditionally, it is just the broth with a few bits of tofu and maybe some nori. Totally up to you. It’s a Japanese comfort dish for sure and it brings me much comfort every time I eat it. Aside from the salt, it really is healthy for you too…..especially with the tofu and spinach. But that isn’t why I eat it. Hahahaha, I just happen to love this stuff. I delivered some to my daughter yesterday for lunch and I think she was very happy. I think I may have heard her say “Miso-happy!” ok, well maybe she didn’t.
Trust me on this. You will like this. You can find miso paste at any Asian market and at most grocery stores too!
3 tablespoons of miso paste
2 1/2 cups of water
fresh spinach (about 2 cups)
1 14-oz carton of tofu (there are many brands of tofu. I use soft or medium Japanese tofu, found in Asian markets and some grocery stores)
sliced green onion
Boil the water in a medium size pot. Turn heat down so water is just simmering. Add the miso paste and stirl until all miso paste is dissolved in the hot water. Give it a taste. If it isn’t salty or flavorful enough, just add a tsp or so, of miso paste. Add the spinach and tofu. Allow spinach to wilt.
Serve as is, garnished with a few sprinklings of green onion, or ladle over some cooked rice. Slurp, slurp.
You can also add some cooked ramen noodles!
Ideas for miso paste:
- Add about a tablespoon to some salad dressing and drizzle on your salad or use as a chicken marinade
- lightly rub chicken, beef or fish before grilling, baking or roasting
- add a tsp to some melted butter and drizzle over some fish or veggies