Not only does miso paste give everything an umami blast, but using it to make miso soup is so easy — it’s virtually impossible to mess up.
What I love most about miso soup, aside from its salty and rich flavor, is it’s wonderful versatility – you can make it with noodles, mushrooms, seafood, tofu, you name it. There are no hard and fast rules to making miso soup.
Miso soup is something I always order when I go out for sushi. As a cultural melting pot, Vancouver must have as many sushi places Germany does bakeries! So I’ve had my fair share. Sadly, decent quality sushi costs an arm and a leg in Hamburg – just imagine, 9€ for a California roll — with imitation crab at that!
So needless to say, sushi isn’t a weekly occurrence. And since many of my Japanese favorites are pretty doable at home, with a little know how and the right ingredients, I can enjoy then as often as I like!
Traditionally miso soup is made from a combination of miso paste and dashi. Dashi is soup stock and a vital ingredient for almost all Japanese cooking. Like miso paste, it also imparts umami – the fifth taste 1) sweet 2) sour 3) salt 4) bitter, and 5) umami – think parmesan cheese, it’s got the umami thing going on too. Warning: yumminess like this is a little bit addictive!
Miso Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms and Baby Bok Choy
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 150 g shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 4 cups vegetable broth, alternatively use dashi, (I recommend this! a Japanese soup stock powder, available at Asian food markets) (1 litre)
- 5 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
- 3 tablespoons miso paste (fermented soybean paste, available at Asian food markets)
- 4 or more heads baby bok choy, trimmed, cut into bite-size pieces (ca. 300 g)
- handful cilantro leaves, as garnish
Heat oil in a large sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, garlic, ginger and toss to coat. Cook, stirring once or twice, until mushrooms are slightly browned on edges, about 5 minutes.
Add vegetable broth (or 1 package instant dashi, if using) and stir in the green onions, and carrots. Bring to a soft boil and then reduce heat to low, simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the miso paste, then add the bok choy and cook until bok choy is wilted; another 2-3 minutes.
Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately.
NOTE: If fresh shiitake mushrooms aren't available, you can used dried; just soak them for at least 30 minutes until soft enough to slice. And if bok choy isn’t your thing, any greens can be substituted here: spinach, Swiss chard, kale, whatever you like. Enjoy!
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I cooked it last night, I and my kids loved it! It is much better than another version I used to cook, because mushrooms are first browned and there is Miso paste on top of vegetable stock, which gives more flavour, plus the carrots!
Thank you Paolo! So glad you and your family enjoyed this recipe! 🙂