Recipe: Mushroom miso soup

I love trying new ingredients, new dishes, new cuisines. And I don’t understand people who don’t.

One of the things I liked the most about Russia is how popular Japanese restaurants and bars are there. It has been like a boom; you can find a Japanese sushi bars almost everywhere, and some of them have quite reasonable prices.

I am sure that they are far away from real Japanese sushi bars—where sushi is neither an everyday dish nor a kind of fast food—but it’s better than nothing.

miso_mushroomsoup_jpg2_2

What is even stranger to me, people really like it.  No, don’t misunderstand me; I love Japanese food too. I was surprised because the panorama is completely different where I live.

In Spain, there are very few Japanese restaurants, they are quite expensive and not very popular. People think it’s too exotic. Strangely enough, Chinese restaurants are very popular, cheap….but not exactly haute cuisine.

Our volleyball team coacher invited us one day to a Japanese-Chinese-Asian restaurant (he promised that he would do it if we won an especially difficult match…and we did) I remember the face of my team when he told us that it was a “Japanese” restaurant.

Luckily for them there were more European dishes than Asian ones and so they didn’t have anything to complain about.

One could choose between chopsticks and a fork. I almost always eat with chopsticks at home because I like it, so without the slightest hesitation I took the chopsticks.

When I began to eat, I realized that all my team was looking at me. They were amazed; I could eat with chopsticks!

To the surprise of the waiters, a dozen of girls rushed immediately to get theirs too. But when the croquettes, potatoes and all the other food they tried to catch with them began to roll across the table (and the floor), they decided to put aside their chopsticks and finish their lunch with a fork.

miso_mushroomsoup_jpg1_2

I am in love with Japanese culture and as the food is a very important part of a culture… How could I dislike Japanese cuisine? It is focused on simple, (almost always) quick, healthy and high quality food. It’s hardly surprising that they have the highest life expectancy in the world.

I could have chosen a spectacular and highly elaborated recipe to illustrate this post, but I didn’t want to, because this is not the way the Japanese eat. Instead, I have chosen from the basics: miso soup (miso shiru, みそしる, 味噌汁).

Miso is a staple ingredient of the Japanese cuisine, almost as important as rice, and miso soup is certainly one of the favorite uses of this traditional Japanese seasoning. Miso generally has a salty, deep flavor, although there are different kinds. If you want to know more about this ingredient, a good source is Maki’s Just hungry; her posts about the miso soup and types of miso are very useful.

miso_mushroomsoup_jpg3_2

Mushroom miso soup

I am sure that there are as many different miso soup recipes as there are cooks. There is the basic recipe, which involves just miso and dashi, and hundreds of different variations. The most common additions are tofu, wakame and green onion, but you can also add potatoes, daikon, carrots, cabbage or mushrooms (like in this one). Experiment, play with the ingredients and find your own favorite miso soup!

Miso and stock are key ingredients, although I have used water and it still tasted wonderful. If you are using stock, one too strong could spoil your miso soup because you won’t be able to notice the miso. Watch out for the salt! Miso is very salty, so it doesn’t combine with salty stocks (unless you want to see your blood pressure go sky-high).

miso_mushroomsoup_jpg4_2

Serves: 1
Ingredients:
1 carrot, sliced or grated
1 cabbage leaf
3–4 mushrooms, chopped
2 slices of firm tofu, cubed (about ¼ of a block)
1tbsp wakame seaweed (before soaking)
About ½tsp miso (I used red miso)
1tsp soy sauce
1 cup water, dashi or light stock
Gomashio (sesame seeds with salt) for garnish (optional)
Oil

  1. Soak the wakame seaweed. Reserve.
  2. Heat 1tbsp of oil in a saucepan and add the chopped mushrooms. Sauté them until them become brown and crispy. You can add some onions. Reserve.
  3. Add  a little more oil if needed, and add the sliced carrots. Sauté for one minute and add the cabbage. After a couple of minutes, add the mushrooms.  Set aside.
  4. Now brown the tofu a little bit on a saucepan. You can add it directly to the pot, without sautéing, but I prefer to do it as so gives it more flavor.
  5. Pour about one cup of water into a pot; add the veggies, the tofu and wakame. Boil for 5 minutes on low heat. Turn off. In another bowl, dissolve ½tsp of miso in some of the soup. Return it to the pot and leave it to stand for at least another 5 minutes **Try a spoon of the soup to check the saltiness, because depending on the miso and the stock (if using), it can be not salty enough…or too salty! So be careful and begin with less. You will be always able to add more.
  6. Serve with some gomashio on top.

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Ksenia Klykova is a 19 years old girl, vegan since December 2007, passionate for cooking, design and photography. Born in Moscow but raised in Spain. Creative, perfectionist, a multilingual speaker and a runner.

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  • http://twitter.com/nihongoup nihongoup

    Blogged: Recipe: Mushroom miso soup – http://bit.ly/4lH2oR #japanese #recipe #miso #food #japan
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • http://twitter.com/RecipesCuisine RecipesCuisine

    [Recipes Cuisine] Recipe: Mushroom miso soup | NihongoUp http://snipurl.com/t8ee3
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • http://twitter.com/RecipesCuisine RecipesCuisine

    [Recipes Cuisine] Recipe: Mushroom miso soup | NihongoUp http://bit.ly/4sIg7q
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • Peter

    I think Japanese people in general go to the hospital a lot, hence the long life.

    • http://divita.eu/ seifip

      When it's true that Japanese people tend to visit doctors way too often even with small injuries etc. it was confirmed many times that their high life expectancy is mostly due to their lifestyle, and especially food consumption.

  • Peter

    I think Japanese people in general go to the hospital a lot, hence the long life.

  • Peter

    I think Japanese people in general go to the hospital a lot, hence the long life.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/seifip seifip

      When it's true that Japanese people tend to visit doctors way too often even with small injuries etc. it was confirmed many times that their high life expectancy is mostly due to their lifestyle, and especially food consumption.

  • http://twitter.com/Sweetcookery Sweetcookery

    Recipe: Mushroom miso soup | NihongoUp http://bit.ly/4f82m4
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • seifip

    When it's true that Japanese people tend to visit doctors way too often even with small injuries etc. it was confirmed many times that their high life expectancy is mostly due to their lifestyle, and especially food consumption.

  • http://www.WendyTokunaga.com/ Wendy Tokunaga

    How fascinating that Japanese food is more popular in Russia than in Barcelona. I would never have guessed that.

    Miso soup, rice, and tsukemono (pickles) makes for a simple but delicious meal.

    • http://divita.eu/ seifip

      Moscow != Russia… They are like two different countries :) There are several reasons why Japanese food is popular in Moscow… First of all, Russians are very revolutionary/inquisitive by nature. Additionally, everything that is exclusive/expensive/luxury is popular in Moscow, even among those who can't afford it ^^ Also, IMHO Russians have a lot in common with Japanese, and I'm not even talking about how interlaced the history of the two countries are. Combine all that with the worldwide craze of everything Japanese in the 90' and you've got perfect conditions for the proliferation of Japanese culture (and cuisine, for that matter).

  • Wendy Tokunaga

    How fascinating that Japanese food is more popular in Russia than in Barcelona. I would never have guessed that. Miso soup, rice, and tsukemono (pickles) makes for a simple but delicious meal.

  • http://www.WendyTokunaga.com Wendy Tokunaga

    How fascinating that Japanese food is more popular in Russia than in Barcelona. I would never have guessed that.

    Miso soup, rice, and tsukemono (pickles) makes for a simple but delicious meal.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/seifip seifip

      Moscow != Russia… They are like two different countries :) There are several reasons why Japanese food is popular in Moscow… First of all, Russians are very revolutionary/inquisitive by nature. Additionally, everything that is exclusive/expensive/luxury is popular in Moscow, even among those who can't afford it ^^ Also, IMHO Russians have a lot in common with Japanese, and I'm not even talking about how interlaced the history of the two countries are. Combine all that with the worldwide craze of everything Japanese in the 90' and you've got perfect conditions for the proliferation of Japanese culture (and cuisine, for that matter).

  • http://twitter.com/Wendy_Tokunaga Wendy_Tokunaga

    Japanese restaurants more popular in Russia than Barcelona. Surprising! http://tinyurl.com/yfb3gge
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • seifip

    Moscow != Russia… They are like two different countries :) There are several reasons why Japanese food is popular in Moscow… First of all, Russians are very revolutionary/inquisitive by nature. Additionally, everything that is exclusive/expensive/luxury is popular in Moscow, even among those who can't afford it ^^ Also, IMHO Russians have a lot in common with Japanese, and I'm not even talking about how interlaced the history of the two countries are. Combine all that with the worldwide craze of everything Japanese in the 90' and you've got perfect conditions for the proliferation of Japanese culture (and cuisine, for that matter).

  • http://talesofaspoon.blogspot.com/ Ksenia

    I agree with you, Philip: you can't compare Moscow with the rest of the country. And you are right too when you say that anything exclusive or expensive is popular there xD The high cost of living in Moscow still surprises me every time I visit it O.o

    I remember that my mother was shocked some years ago,when we went to Moscow for the first time after many years of living in Spain. I think we went to "шоколадница", and paid about 30€ for four teas and four pastries: that is, almost 4€ per item.
    Then we understood that a cup of coffee cost no less than 3€ in the center, he he. Well, and that шоколадница is not the best place to eat. This summer, while I was wandering round the streets , I discovered many small café and patisseries that I liked much more :))

    Ahhhh, I think that I am beginning to feel nostalgic xD

  • Ksenia

    I agree with you, Philip: you can't compare Moscow with the rest of the country. And you are right too when you say that anything exclusive or expensive is popular there xD The high cost of living in Moscow still surprises me every time I visit it O.o I remember that my mother was shocked some years ago,when we went to Moscow for the first time after many years of living in Spain. I think we went to "шоколадница", and paid about 30€ for four teas and four pastries: that is, almost 4€ per item. Then we understood that a cup of coffee cost no less than 3€ in the center, he he. Well, and that шоколадница is not the best place to eat. This summer, while I was wandering round the streets , I discovered many small café and patisseries that I liked much more :)) Ahhhh, I think that I am beginning to feel nostalgic xD

  • http://talesofaspoon.blogspot.com/ Ksenia

    I agree with you, Philip: you can't compare Moscow with the rest of the country. And you are right too when you say that anything exclusive or expensive is popular there xD The high cost of living in Moscow still surprises me every time I visit it O.o

    I remember that my mother was shocked some years ago,when we went to Moscow for the first time after many years of living in Spain. I think we went to "шоколадница", and paid about 30€ for four teas and four pastries: that is, almost 4€ per item.
    Then we understood that a cup of coffee cost no less than 3€ in the center, he he. Well, and that шоколадница is not the best place to eat. This summer, while I was wandering round the streets , I discovered many small café and patisseries that I liked much more :))

    Ahhhh, I think that I am beginning to feel nostalgic xD

  • http://www.top10traveldestinations.org/ will

    I've noticed the same thing about Moscow and the popularity of expensive items/exclusivity. I spent three months there and was surprised at how expensive the city can be…but worth it, I had a great time. In terms of Japanese food, I had a really good tuna fish sushi dish there.

  • Gaellemarasigan_08

    can you translate that recipe into japanese language?

  • seifip

    We only publish articles in English, but if anyone would like to translate this post into Japanese & publish on their blog (with proper credits of course) then please let me know :)

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  • http://twitter.com/jseb_92 Seb

    thanks!

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