Last year I spent the entire month of February dedicated to Asian foods so click here if you want some recipe ideas to celebrate Asian culture and the new year through food
I know, it seems I am going all Michael Smith crazy but in fact I am recipe testing his book The Best of Chef at Home: Essential Recipes for Today’s Kitchen. When I saw that he had a recipe for miso soup, I thought it would be the perfect recipe to test during this cold and bitter week.
I love miso soup. It is exotic, unusual and healthy. Some people start their day with a bowl of miso in broth and I am almost tempted. There is something about miso that just makes you feel better. A great soup on a rotten cold day and we get those all the time. I have typed the recipe as it appears in the cookbook but note that when I made it I divided it in half since I was just cooking just for myself.
Bring 4 cups of chicken broth or water to a simmer in a stockpot. Grate in a small knob of ginger into the broth. I had some firm cubed tofu in the freezer so I added it to the pot. For me, tofu is essential for a good miso soup and adds protein to complete the meal.
Thinly slice 2 cups of shiitake or button mushrooms. I used a bit of both.
Add mushrooms and simmer for about ten minutes.
You will be using soba noodles in this recipe which I adore! So much healthier for you than regular noodles, these are worth the additional expense and truly make the dish.
Add the soba noodles and cook for approximately 5 minutes. OK, now here is where I went off the flavour map. Chef Smith says to add 4 heaping tablespoons of miso paste, a dash or two of hot pepper sauce, 1 sheet of nori seaweed finely shredded with scissors and 2 green onions finely sliced and cook for one minute. Everything I have learned about miso says to NEVER cook it so instead I just put a little of all of the above at the bottom of my bowl and poured the soup on top:
First, because of the miso, I would recommend using 2 cups broth and 2 cups water for this recipe. It gets very salty fast, especially when you simmer the broth for 10 minutes. I used a sodium-reduced broth and wow, still very salty. I would rather my salt and flavour come from the miso instead of the broth anyway. Overall, the soup was OK. I was hoping for more, to be honest. This is a good base of a recipe but on its own, a little ordinary. A drizzle of sesame oil would have been great, maybe a handful of green peas tossed in the last few minutes…
As with most of Michael Smith’s recipe there is nothing wrong with it. It is just lacking something. As a result, I can only give this soup four out of five wooden spoons. Since I feel a little lacklustre about this dish and how I did, I am still not sure I have shifted the energy and got my foodie mojo back, damn it.