October 03, 2012

Whenever I see Maud's miso soup I want some

The title says it all. Every time I see miso soup over at Food Feud, I want some. I finally acted on my cravings and I realized if I'm not trying to be fancy, I can go from wanting soup to having it in about 10 minutes. I just stir-fry some fast-cooking greens like bok choy, a few mushrooms, some thinly sliced carrots, tofu and maybe green onions added at the end. Add water to the wok and heat to a simmer. Purée miso with a little of the warm water from the wok (I usually use a glass measuring cup), continuing to add water a little at a time until the miso is completely dissolved, then add it back into the pot and simmer for a minute or two. A tiny splash of rice vinegar or mirin, any additional seasonings you may want, and you're done.
I also added some leftover rice noodles. The amount of miso you add is dictated by personal taste but one teaspoon per cup of liquid is a good starting point. The type of miso will make a difference, with the darker ones being more intense and salty, and the lighter, mellow misos being less so.

The best miso soup may involve making a traditional dried shiitake and/or kombu stock, but here's a little secret I use to add umami — satisfying flavor and depth — to a simple, quick soup. I have a jar of dried porcini mushroom powder, and it only takes a very small amount to make a huge difference. What was I thinking? In fact, if you add too much it has the opposite effect I think. To a two-cup pot of soup I may add 1/4 teaspoon or less, but I never add much more than 1/2 teaspoon to any size pot. I bought a one-pound jar but I can see it's way more than I need. It's very pricey, but I shopped around for the best deal, and it goes so far that it may turn out to be one of my cheaper exotic condiments. I don't just add it to soup, but to anything that could benefit from a flavor boost, but it really works great with soup stock. There are many culinary uses for dried mushroom powder — explore! Do be smarter than I, and buy a small quantity.

19 comments:

  1. I uttered this exact sentence to Barbara this weekend; foodfeud deserves miso royalties. Thanks for demistifying the soup for me; I've never made it and I was overcomplicating it in my head.

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    1. I've given you the quick-and-dirty version. The better, traditional version isn't really harder, it just takes a little more time, wakame or kombu, and dried shiitake mushrooms. It's worth it to make a more traditional soup, but the fast version is pretty good, too. The important part is to dissolve the miso before adding to the pot or it will stay undissolved.

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  2. I'm totally with you--her miso soups are the best! Using dried porcini powder is one of the most genius umami ideas though. Definitely need to get my mitts on some!

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    1. If you do get the powder, don't do what I did and buy a pound! Buy a smaller amount. If I ever use the powder up I will follow my own advice.

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  3. Turns out the miso envy works over the internet too - I saw your miso, and I wanted some!

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    1. Strange as it sounds, when I posted the photo I wanted some, too!

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  4. i love miso! sadly some times it is made with fish so I never trust japanese restaurants :( i should make some myself!

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    1. You have to ask in Japanese restaurants and hope they tell you the truth! fish is pretty common in miso soup. I even learned it was an ingredient in otherwise vegan sushi at a restaurant I was eating at last summer. I'm glad I asked which foods were vegan!

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  5. You're right that miso can be pretty pricy, especially when buying organic, but it's totally worth it for the flavor punch it provides. It's wonderful in sauces, cheeses, and spreads. I really should try making miso soup. Yours looks so fresh and healthy. I never like it in restaurants, but that's because of the seaweed that's generally in it.

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    1. It's true that miso can be pricey, but I was actually referring to the porcini powder. That stuff is really expensive - especially if you are silly enough to buy an entire pound!

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  6. Your miso soup looks as good as hers always does! I've got to put it on the menu one of these days.

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    1. Thanks! Cold Wisconsin winters are perfect for miso soup.

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  7. Haha, aww, thanks! Yours photographs better, though. And I like the look of it with super thin rice noodles.
    The addition of porcini powder IS genius! I saw some at a spice store a while back and wanted to get some, mostly for a cheese recipe in Vegan Diner but I wouldn't have known what else to do with it. Soup is brilliant.

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    1. I don't know , Maud, your soup has everyone wanting to make some. I never thought of adding the mushroom powder to cheese but it just might add a little cheesy funk to an otherwise plain dish. I can see adding to a mild cashew cheese for extra flavor.

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  8. What a pretty soup that is! I want some!! :-)
    Porcini powder - I've never seen nor heard of it, but what a great idea! I'll have to keep my beady eyes peeled. Sounds like a wonderful recipe addition that we would love.

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    1. Why, Laloofa! I'm so happy to see you pop up here. Does this mean things are settling down a little at the new abode? Hope so. I've missed you!

      Porcini powder is indeed a handy flavor enhancer, but please don't buy a pound! :)

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  9. Now I want everybody's miso soup. This is like a miso soup blog hop.

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    1. And you should have some. Everyone should have some. Miso soup for all!

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