365 Days Miso Soup
What Is Misosoup?
Miso soup is one of the most popular foods in Japan. It is made first by preparing soup stock called ”dashi” from bonito flakes, dried sardine or flying fish or dried kombu seaweed and finally by dissolving miso (soybean paste) in the dashi stock. In Japan, miso soup is the major Japanese soup.
At many Japanese breakfast tables, miso soup is served with cooked rice and side dishes. The flavor of miso soup in the kitchen in early morning reflects a traditional Japanese breakfast.
What Is Miso?
Miso used for making miso soup is one of the most popular seasonings in Japan.
It is a fermented food made from soybeans and rice or barley. It is made by adding salt and “koji” (rice or barley malt), a kind of edible fungi, to boiled or steamed soybeans and fermenting them. Soy sauce is also a fermented food made with similar ingredients: soybeans, barley and koji. Miso and soy sauce are the fundamental seasonings for Japanese foods.
How to make miso soup
Making miso soup is simple. First, prepare 400 cc of dashi stock made with bonito flakes or niboshi (dried sardine).Miso soup without dashi does not have enough umami (good taste). So, never make miso soup without dashi. Although it is best to prepare dashi stock with bonito flakes or niboshi, you can simply use bags of dashi powder or miso containing dashi.
Place your favorite ingredients in the dashi stock and boil. Tofu and wakame seaweed are standard ingredients.
When the ingredients are cooked, dissolve miso in the soup.
If this is too troublesome for you, there are instant miso soups available on the market. All you need to do is to simply pour hot water to them.
What does miso taste like?
Japanese people all know the taste of miso. What does it taste like?
Does it taste like soybeans? No, miso does not have the taste of soybeans. While it is salty because it uses a lot of salt, it has more umami (good taste) and a characteristic taste of koji. You should taste miso yourself.
Kinds of miso
There are various kinds of miso for miso soup.
The major kinds of miso are red miso and white miso.
While both red miso and white miso use the same ingredients, their production processes are different.
Red miso is reddish and has a rich taste because it is matured for a long period. In producing red miso, soybeans are soaked in water for a longer time and steamed at high temperatures for a long time, which causes the reaction between amino acid and sugar in the soybeans, turning their color into brown to red. To maintain the quality of miso during the long maturation period, its salt content is high, and it tastes salty.
On the other hand, the color of white miso is light brown, and its maturation period is short. In its production, soybeans are skinned and are not steamed but boiled. Since a lot of koji is used, it is sweeter and less salty.