Miso soup, can it help bring world peace? Lift a bowl to your mouth, inhale briefly, take a sip of the deeply flavoured liquid and suddenly you feel calm and at ease. This flavoursome broth of hearty, fruity, almost beefy intensity is the breakfast of choice all over Japan. Made from crushed soy beans and rice or wheat, left to ferment and mature, miso's variations in colour, from creamy white to deepest mahogany, generally signify how salty it is. I like to add seaweed to my miso soup, wakame is my favourite, and with some noodles and chopped chicken or tofu, you have a fantastic light dinner.
1 litre stock (vegetable, chicken or dashi)
25g dried wakame seaweed
5 tbsp shiro miso*
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
75g bok choy, very finely shredded
100g udon noodles, boiled and drained
1 lime, juiced
handful of coriander
Bring the stock to the boil in a deep saucepan.
Turn down the heat and add the seaweed then stir in the miso paste, the sesame oil and soy sauce. Taste, adding more miso for a deeper flavour if you wish.
Place the bok choy into serving bowls, add the cooked noodles, then pour over the miso stock.
Finish the soup with lime juice and coriander leaves.
It is always best to add the miso to the hot stock after you have brought it to the boil, because boiling miso kills a lot of its flavour.
*The white (shiro) miso, the least salty, is a good place for a miso newcomer to start.