Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Miso Soup for Ninjas!

Miso (a fermented, aged soybean paste) is one of the most nourishing foods on the planet. Really really. It's been around since 800 BC, and there's probably a pretty solid reason for that. It's a good source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, many B vitamins, as well as easy-to-digest protein. It's possible you find that boring. Stay with me.... it also helps improve crappy, weak digestion, is used to help treat cancer, to alkalinize overly acidic bodies, as a libido tonic (you heard me), as well as to heal several types of intestinal infections. Miso's got lots of antioxidants such as sapoins and melanoidins (moreso in the darker, aged versions). It's got lots of good bacteria which increases the overall usability of nutrients as well as myriad other benefits. Miso helps you rid your body of excess tobacco. In traditional Japan, miso is still used to remove tar from smoker's pipes! That blew my mind just a bit.

I promised you guys forever ago that I'd give you my recipe for miso soup. Not sure why it took me so long, but it did. Allow me to mention in advance that this is the Beany von Doom take on the traditional miso soup. A real miso soup is usually mostly broth, peppered with a few vegetables, some tofu and seaweed and is generally meant as a starter course. When it's a main meal, it's generally a light meal meant for healing. Enter my miso soup. It is a meal that will not leave you wanting and I'm not frigging around. Adjust the quantity depending on your appetite or the number of folks you intend to feed. 

Basically, I boil about two cups of water in a small pot, add three or four dried shitake mushrooms, between one and a half and two cups of seasonal vegetables (make sure to have some greens!), a quarter of a block of fresh cubed tofu or a few pieces of frozen fried tofu, and some kamut soba or spaghetti. Simmer this for 15 minutes with the lid partially askew. This way much of the water evaporates, and we're left with enough to make a broth, but not so much that you'll be full off water. 

When the vegetables are suitably tender, ladle out a bit of broth in a small bowl and add a heaping teaspoon of miso paste. If this isn't enough, you can add a bit more, but remember that miso is extremely salty! Whisk to combine, then add it back to the soup. This step is important, because if you boil the miso, the heat destroys many of its beneficial properties. To cool it down,  I add a splash of rice wine and sometimes some hot sauce or spicy seasoning. This is an awesome ninjalike move, definitely not a traditional monastic one, not that there's anything wrong with monks.

Voila. You just ate lots of vegetables for breakfast! This is actually my favourite breakfast. I'll often prepare the soup before I begin to exercise, let it simmer, then take it out to cool partway through my workout. When I'm done, it's ready, and I'm rewarded with my lovely soup. I eat it, breathe in the steam, and continue to sweat. It's awesome. It's a very alkalinizing start to your day. Your cells have a fighting chance!

Do you make miso soup? What the heck is yours like? What else do you do with miso?


  1. I've been trying my hardest to eat more veggies and you've just inspired me to eat loaded miso soup for breakfast - thanks!

  2. Oh that's wonderful! That makes me very happy! Let me know how it turns out. And something that I didn't mention in the post that's great for this time of year: adding some grated ginger to this soup will help warm you and fire up your digestion. Happy cooking, Ninja Amber!