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Miso Soup - Japanese Encyclopedia

Miso Soup - Japanese Encyclopedia

2016.09.24

Miso soup is a common dish that many Japanese people enjoy outside or at home. Learn more about the basic ingredient of this soup - miso paste, as well as how to cook delicious miso soup for yourself.

Translated by Jasmine Nishino

Written by ニコ

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"Miso Soup" - The Flavors From Home

When ordering set meals or rice dishes in Japanese restaurants, miso soup is a common dish that accompanies your meal. Depending on the region, the types of miso and the content may vary, but it is a staple dish that reminds many Japanese people of the flavors from home. Let us introduce you to the various types of miso soups along with easy to cook miso soup mixes that are perfect for souvenirs.

What Is The "Miso" Used In Miso Soup?

Miso is mainly made from soybeans and grains such as rice and wheat. The beans are fermented after adding a kind of malt called "aspergillus" and salt. Miso is a fermented ingredient, just like natto and soy sauce, and has been eaten as a preserved food for a long time. If you taste miso on its own, it is extremely salty, but you will gradually be able to taste the sweetness of the grains within the saltiness. In supermarkets, it is commonly sold in plastic cups, but some enjoy making miso at home. Because of the popularity of Japanese cuisine outside of Japan, it has become easier to find products with "miso" written on their labels. Depending on the base ingredient, one can choose between rice miso, bean miso, and wheat miso. A miso with all of the ingredients is called a mixed miso. Miso can be also categorized depending on its taste, from sweet to salty. In addition to that, there are also various types of miso depending on the length of fermentation time. The color varies from red miso, light color miso, and white miso.

How To Make Delicious Miso Soup

Tasty miso soup begins with making "dashi" broth. Dashi is a broth from small fish and kelp. Once the broth is heated, add ingredients of your choice and cook. Additional ingredients can be simple things such tofu, seaweed, scallions or seasonal vegetables such as taro, daikon radish, mushrooms or even salmon, shellfish and pork. Turn off the heat once everything is fully cooked and melt in the miso. Put it on heat again and once it gets close to boiling, stop the heat and serve. Do not let miso soup boil completely, as it will lose its flavor. The best temperature to enjoy the taste of the soup is considered to be around 75 degrees Celsius.

Try The "Regional Miso Soups"!

The basic miso soup with tofu is good, but there are many regional miso soups with local ingredients that are definitely worth trying. For instance, there is the sanpeijiru from Hokkaido that uses salmon, daikon radish, carrots, potato and scallion, or the kanijiru from Tottori prefecture which contains crab and has a rich seafood flavor. Meanwhile, in Osaka the kasujiru with "sake lees" from Japanese rice wine in miso soup is very famous. The soup has a low alcohol content and it is a recommended dish especially for sake enthusiasts who can enjoy the aroma of sake from the miso soup. Many people may think miso soup is always drunk warm, but in Miyazaki prefecture, the cold hiyajiru miso soup is well known. Hiyajiru contains tofu, cucumbers, shiso (perilla) and myoga ginger, has a refreshing aftertaste and is a perfect dish for the summer.

Cute And Tasty Fumuroya Miso Soup In Kanazawa

Making miso soup from scratch can be rather difficult and time-consuming, so there are many instant miso soups that only require pouring hot water, sold in supermarkets and convenience stores. Out of the many instant miso soups, Fumuroya, a specialty shop of fu (gluten), carries a variety of instant miso soups that are quite popular in Japan. "Fu" is a type of processed gluten that is commonly used as an ingredient in miso soup. At Fumuroya, they thin out the processed gluten to form a shell that has the base and ingredients of miso soup inside. The shell is in the shape of cherry blossom petals, red maple, plum flowers and many other cute designs. There are many flavors and can last up to ninety days. Aside from the main branch in Kanazawa, it can be found in department stores in Tokyo and Osaka as well! If you're looking for a great gift from Japan, this is highly recommended.

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