A friend requested a recipe for a classic miso soup, so here we are.
If you have the time, making your own dashi is effort, but oh-so-worth-it. You can harvest your own Konbu (Giant kelp) and dry it slowly in the oven, otherwise asian food supermarkets should have it. Katsoubushi or Bonito flakes are dry, shaved tuna flakes, difficult to make yourself but again, asian supermarkets will have.
With that said, freeze-dried dashi is actually not bad, and the convenience makes up for the compromise in flavour.
Wakame is a dried brown/green seaweed that is reconstituted in water and eaten as a sea vegetable. You can harvest fresh wakame if you are near the coast, just make sure you are not taking from any polluted areas.
Classic Miso soup with wakame and tofu
If making your own dashi:
- 10 cm piece of dried kombu
- 1 cup bonito flakes
- 4 cups filtered or spring water
If using freeze dried dashi
- 2 tsp dashi granules
- 4 cups water
- 1 block soft tofu, cut into squares
- 4 tbsp miso (any sort)
- 2 tbsp dried wakame
- Other veg (optional)
- Chopped spring onions (garnish)
- grated fresh ginger (garnish)
- Start by hydrating your wakame - if you are sensitive to textures (like marna) and can't handle slimy things, use salt water to hydrate the wakame - 2 teaspoons of salt in a half a cup of water, leave until the seaweed has expanded and uncurled (5-10 min), then drain and rinse with fresh water. The salt keeps the wakame crunchy, but don't over soak - it will absorb too much water and become slimy and lose its crunch.
- If you are making a dashi from scratch, place the water and the kombu in a pot and heat until almost boiling. Throw in the tuna flakes - they will hydrate almost instantly - leave for 15 seconds and then drain through a sieve. Throw away the flakes - kombu can be reused one more time. If you are using dashi granules, chuck them in with the water. Rule of thumb: 1/2 t dashi for each cup of water.
- Throw in 1 tbsp of miso for each cup of water - 4 tbsp in this case. Stir well to dissolve. If you have quite a chunky miso and you don't want bits floating around, dissolve the miso in half a cup of dashi separately and then add to the soup.
- Try not to let the miso soup boil for long, as you will lose flavour from the dashi.Add the hydrated wakame, tofu, optional other veg, and serve immediately with chopped spring onions or a blob of grated fresh ginger on top.