Miso soup is one of the most popular side dishes in a traditional Japanese food menu. Miso soup, along with rice, is to Japanese cuisine what bread is to Mediterranean cuisine. When I arrived to Japan for the first time it really didn’t grab my attention; now, however, I’m an addict to miso soup. I love to have it always at the end of every meal.
The main ingredient of miso soup, is a type of paste/sauce that is produced out of the fermentation of soy using salt and a fungus called kojikin (麹菌). The soy version is the most popular, however miso can also be fermented using rice or barley. Miso is very nutritious, it has many proteins, minerals and vitamins. It is not only used to make miso soup, it has been used in many dishes of Japanese cuisine for ages, its production is cheap and it can be easily preserved during long periods of time.
The basic miso soup recipe is extremely easy:
- 1.- Hot water or dashi (70~80ºC)
- 2.- Dissolve miso in the water (more or less a spoonful per every 500ml)
- 3.- Add whatever ingredients you want to the soup (depending on the part of Japan where you are you will find different ingredients in it. The most common ingredients are wakame algae, tofu and mushrooms).
The truth is that the proper preparation is somewhat more complex, but this is the easiest way to start doing it. If you want to perfect the technique; I usually do it like this.
Miso soup is good to lighten digestion, it has many antioxidants, it has vitamin E and vitamin B12. Several research studies show that it is good to prevent cancer and to reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol. Even there are research studies that say that the consumption of miso soup helped a lot to the recovery of those affected by the radiation of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs; as a matter of fact, afterwards miso soup was given to victims of the Chernobyl disaster.
Miso soup might be one of the reasons why Japanese people has the highest life expectancy in the world.