Miso soup is something a lot of people have only ever come across when going out for sushi – this miso soup is something quite different and is the perfect comfort on an icy, cold Canadian winter day.
A good homemade miso soup starts with an easy seaweed broth, includes a small variety of fresh vegetables, and is finished off with a healthy portion of high-quality organic miso.
Miso is a fermented food with Chinese and Japanese origins and actually means ‘fermented beans’. Traditionally, miso is made from soybeans but is also made from a combination of soybean and various grains.
Some of the more popular types of miso are:
Hatcha miso made from only soybeans
Mugi miso made from barley & soybeans
Genmai miso made from brown rice & soybeans
Kome miso made from white rice & soybeans
Soba miso made from buckwheat & soybeans
*A note to my readers: There is a lot of controversy surrounding the soy bean and it’s health benefits and consequences. It is very important that you always select high-quality and organic soy products; many of the issues associated with soy-based foods are due to the fact that non-organic soy is genetically modified. My favourite brands to use include Amano Foods (Canada), Tradition Miso (Canada), Eden Organics (USA), and Mitoku (Japan).
Miso contains a wealth of important minerals (including manganese, copper, zinc, and phosphorus), antioxidants, and phytonutrients that fortify the body and help fight free radicals. It can help manage health issues associated with inflammation and disorders caused by digestive bacterial imbalances; it strengthens cardiovascular health; and it has been shown to help manage various forms of cancer.
As a yoga teacher, I understand that hot yoga – along with its detoxification benefits – has a demineralizing effect on the body. Long-term demineralization can contribute to health issues like arthritis, osteoporosis, digestive issues, and general malnutrition negatively affecting the immune system. A hot bowl of homemade miso soup after your hot yoga practice will give your body back all of those important nutrients and help to avoid any negative health impacts.
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Serves 4 – 6
– 6 cups of water
– 1 6-inch strip of dried kombu, soaked for 5-10 minutes in water
– ½ onion, thinly sliced *optional
– 3 tbsp miso
– 1 tsp shoyu *optional
– 2-3 scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens separated
– about 2-3 cups of a variety of thinly sliced vegetables (cabbage, leafy greens, radishes, bean sprouts, carrots, broccoli, daikon, etc.)
In a stainless-steel pot, bring 6 cups of cold water, the soaked kombu, and the onion to a boil and simmer for about 3-5 minutes as you cut your other vegetables.
If you choose to add some additional seasoning with the shoyu, add it now. Without the added seasoning, a homemade miso soup tastes much sweeter than the kind you would be served in a restaurant. Adding a bit of shoyu helps to round out the flavours and give your soup more of the savoury flavours you’re used to tasting.
Add the white parts of the scallions and the rest of your thinly sliced vegetables. Boil over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, about 3-5 minutes.
Take about a cup of the hot broth and set it aside in a suribachi bowl, a mortar bowl, or any other bowl you have. Add the miso to this and make a smooth paste using the surikogi, pestle, or a spoon/fork.
With the heat on low, add the miso paste mixture back into the pot. Let it gently simmer for 3-5 minutes. Do not let it come to a boil again as this kills the healthy bacteria present in the miso.
Garnish with the scallion greens and serve hot.
* Homemade miso soup should be made fresh daily but can be kept for one day and reheated. Keeping with balanced macrobiotic principles,
always try to add something fresh to your reheated miso soup. *