Miso Soup (With Hondashi) recipe

miso soup 5Sometimes you don’t think about miso soup as an appetizer until dinner is almost on the table.

Well, that’s my life, anyway.

Miso soup is a great accompaniment for any Asian fare, especially dishes centered around seafood. I tend to remember the side dishes (pickled vegetables, a simple pile of steamed rice) and beverages (hot green tea, ginger ale), but sometimes an intro course is necessary to fire up your stomach and prepare your brain. And soup warms you from the insides.*

* But really — does anyone else feel that spreading sensation after you swallow that first spoonful? It’s like dragon’s fire (albeit, less scalding) slowly flames down your throat in waves. It hits your stomach and spreads around its walls in a beautiful hug, and soon it’s coursing through your veins and your limbs. OK, not exactly an ideal experience in summer, but you’d be surprised how many temperature-hot/spicy-hot foods Asian cultures love to eat in hot weather.

The point: You still have time to make a few bowls of miso soup, if you have hondashi powder on hand. I’ve decided to document an official recipe for the miso soup I make with hondashi and white miso paste. Feel free to add or subtract whatever other garnishes you like — there is no exact science here.

miso soup 1Hondashi-White Miso Soup (serves 4)

4 cups water
instant dashi granules for 4 cups of water (about 1 1/2 tsp.)
1/2 cup white miso paste
1 Tbsp. dried seaweed (wakame)
1/2 cup firm tofu, cut into small cubes
green onion, thinly sliced (on a bias, if you’re fancy)

1) Boil water in a sauce pot, whisking in hondashi powder when boiling.
2) Lower heat to medium and add tofu and seaweed. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
3) Add miso paste, stirring with chopsticks or a whisk to dissolve and break up clumps. (Some recipes will suggest that you don’t cook the miso paste for too long, but I like to really let the flavors steep and marry. Hondashi, being a quicker option, often needs a bit more time to sort of blend as a broth.)
4) Ladle into bowls, top with green onions and serve with deep soup spoons.

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