Monday, January 16, 2012

Homemade Dashi & Miso Soup

 I decided this week to try making my own homemade miso soup.  It starts with a Dashi base.  In Japan Dashi is the base to basically everything.  It is to the Japanese what chicken stock is to Americans.  I took a picture of all the ingredients I purchased for this soup.  This recipe is from Alton Brown but since I'm shopping in a Japanese supermarket I cannot tell you 100% that the ingredients I purchased are as the recipe called for since all products were written in Japanese but I think I ended up with the right products.  Looking at a million different bags of seaweed trying to figure out which one is the right one for Dashi was exhausting.  Different types of seaweed are used for different things, the wrong one would ruin my Dashi which means no miso soup for me!  No one else in my house would even try my soup.  My husband use to like miso soup until he saw the ingredients used to make it.  He had no idea that Dashi was made with bonito flakes, which is basically a fish that is smoked for weeks over an open fire until rock hard and almost wood like then shaved into tiny little pieces.  It looks like just these weightless little flakes.  I thought this soup was amazing.  I will say I threw a few pieces of the top of my broccoli into the bowl for some color since I didn't have any scallions on hand and I thought it looked better than a bowl of brown soup!  I also didn't use any tofu just because I just wasn't in the mood for it that specific night.   


2 (4-inch) square pieces kombu
2 1/2 quarts water
1/2-ounce bonito flakes (also called katsubushi), about 2 cups

Put the kombu in a 4-quart saucepan, cover with the water and soak for 30 minutes. Set the saucepan over medium heat until the water reaches 150 to 160 degrees F and small bubbles appear around the sides of the pan, 9 to 10 minutes.  Remove the kombu from the pan. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, 5 to 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the bonito flakes.  Simmer gently, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.  Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth.

(You can store the Dashi in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use within 1 week or freeze for up to a month.)

Miso Soup

12-ounce block firm silken tofu (*optional)
2 quarts dashi
6 tablespoons dark or red miso
2 tablespoons light or white miso
4 scallions, thinly sliced (*optional)

Wrap the block of tofu in 2 layers of paper towels and lay on a plate. Invert a second plate on top of the tofu and weigh down with a 28-ounce can. Leave for 20 minutes then cut the tofu into 1/4 to 1/2-inch cubes.  Heat the dashi in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. When the dashi reaches 100 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, ladle 1 cup into a small bowl. Add the miso, and whisk until smooth.  Bring the remaining dashi to a bare simmer, approximately 10 minutes. Add the miso mixture and whisk to combine. Return to a slight simmer, being careful not to boil the mixture. Add the tofu and scallions\ and cook for another minute or until heated through. Remove from the heat, ladle into soup bowls and serve immediately. (You aren't really suppose to save miso soup but you can keep it in the fridge for no more than 2 days and reheat on low on the stovetop.  Also you will see that the miso and dashi may look like it is separating at times but it is fine, just give a stir.)

1 comment:

  1. mMMM I think I could with some right now, suffering from a stinky cold. This would make me feel better for a little while, if not cure me :)