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Miso has been a staple in Chinese and Japanese cuisine for over 2,500 years. Today, it constitutes the first meal of the day for most of the Japanese population as it is thought to stimulate the digestion and energises the body. Made from soybeans, sea salt and koji (a molding agent), miso paste is allowed to ferment for 3 months to 3 years, so that by the time it gets to you it is frightfully enzyme rich. The binding agent, zybicolin, is effective in detoxifying and eliminating harmful elements in the body taken in by industrial pollution, dirt and radioactivity. What I am trying to say here is: there are serious health benefits of this easy, delicious recipe. It can also be made to keep in the fridge and enjoyed as a snack or light lunch. My favourite thing about miso soup is the flexibility you have once you have got your base, which only takes a few minutes. Add rice, noodles, tofu, chicken, prawns, wakame - the opportunities are endless. It can be as light or substantial as you want!
3 pints water
3 tbsp. good quality vegetable bouillon
4 tbsp. (white or) brown rice miso paste
2 tbsp. finely diced red onions (optional)
2 tbsp. mirin vinegar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
4 spring onions, finely chopped
400 g (14 oz) silken tofu, cubed
1. Bring the water to the boil in a large saucepan before adding the vegetable stock. Once this is fully dissolved, stir in the finely diced onions (for a richer flavour) and reduce the heat to a simmer.
2. Remove about a cup of the broth and combine with the miso paste. I used a small whisk to dissolve the paste - don't rush this, as nobody likes a lumpy miso. Once the mixture is smooth, pour back in to the saucepan.
3. Add the soya sauce, mirin and mushrooms and simmer for a further 5 minutes (or until you are happy with the texture of the mushrooms). Add the spring onions at the last minute so they retain their colour and crunch.
Serve warm in small lacquered soup bowls, and remember, add whatever you want... I added tofu cubes!
Douzo meshiagare (どうぞめしあが) - Bon Appetit!
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