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Miso Soup for the Soul

By Megan Tempest in Food on Jan 21, 2010 4:20PM

Miso is fermented paste typically made from soybeans, along with a grain (such as barley or rice), sea salt and bacteria called koji. Miso is outrageously good for us! It’s loaded with live enzymes that strengthen and protect the natural, healthy bacterial flora in our intestinal tract. Miso also contains a soy-based isoflavone known as genistein that is believed to have antioxidant effects and the potential to delay tumor growth.

Instead of the subpar miso soup you may find in a Japanese restaurant, we urge you to make your own homemade version. While there are hundreds of variations of miso soup, this recipe is insanely easy and delicious. We used barley miso paste, which has a rich, hearty flavor. If you don’t have the time to make soup, try some simple miso broth. Drink it any time of day, and every day, if you like. Hung-over? Rehydrate with miso broth. Tired of coffee? Try a mug of warm miso to start your day! Just be careful to never boil you miso paste, as doing so will destroy all those health-friendly enzymes.

Megan’s Miso Soup

In a large pot, add:

6 cups water
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
1 cup cubed firm tofu
4 sliced shitake mushrooms
1 piece diced wakame seaweed (available at Whole Foods or Asian grocery stores like Super H Mart or Mitsuwa. See note below)

Bring this to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes.

Throw in some chopped Swiss chard (or another green like spinach, kale or bok choy), a few chopped green onions, and 1 or 2 tablespoons of Tamari soy sauce. Simmer for a couple more minutes or until the greens are softened.

Remove from heat. Using a ladle, remove some of the liquid to mix with about 2 tablespoons of barley miso paste in a separate bowl, and then pour the mixture back in to the soup. Stir everything well and enjoy.

*Add the whole piece of dried wakame to the pot at the start of the recipe. Then pull it out after it’s soaked for a couple minutes - just so it is soft enough to chop easily. Then throw it back in to the soup.