Basic Miso Soup
2/3 cups water per person.
1/2 shiitake mushroom per person
2 inches dry wakame per person
1/4 cup other vegetable/tofu per person
miso to taste
a dash of hondashi
Shiitake mushrooms are soaked the night before
in the water to be used for the soup. This shiitake water is
the soup base.
When preparing to cook, slice the mushrooms
as thin as possible (1/8 inch thick) and about1/2-1 inch long.
Slice vegetables in a way that makes them
easy to pick up with chopsticks or a fork. They should also
be sliced about 1/8 inch thick and no more than 1 inch long.
The thinner they are sliced, the quicker they cook.
The wakame needs to be soaked no more than
10 minutes. The soaking water is also used in the soup. Depending
on the kind of wakame, you may need to cut the wakame after
it is soaked. This can be done by laying it out flat on a cutting
board and cutting 1inch by 1 inch strips. Alternatively, it
can be done using a kitchen knife by snipping the wakame in
its soaking water. But if done this way, be sure the pieces
are not too big.
After adding hondashi to the stock (mushroom
soaked water), bring the stock to a boil. The vegetable is cooked
first. Usually it does not take more than 15 minutes depending
on the vegetable, to cook. The mushrooms and wakame do not need
to be cooked and are put in the boiling water just before adding
Be sure to stop the boiling water before adding
miso. Boiling water will kill the good enzymes and bacteria
in the miso.
After adding miso, taste the soup for flavor.
It should not be too bland nor to salty.
The miso soup should not be done too far ahead
of time. It should be finished by 15 minutes before serving.
*Note* The ingredients for miso soup can vary.
Miso soup can be as simple as boiling a little cabbage and ginger
in water and then adding miso to taste. Ginger is a very good
medicinal. Miso soup can also be adopted to Western style soups
using milk and butter and boiling vegetables such as carrots
or peas. For recipes, see The Book of Miso. As far as Zen cooking
is concerned, we use the ingredients that are on hand. Adjust
the taste- increasing or decreasing saltiness or sweetness to
the tastes of those you are serving.
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