Miso-Style Veggie Noodle Soup – What is Miso?

This veggie noodle soup is not only easy to make but also super flavourful and filling. With a delicious miso flavoured broth, bok choy, carrots and noodles it is a comforting winter meal. Why bother getting takeout when you can whip this up at home?

Recently I stumbled over miso paste for the first time during Asia week in my local grocery store and picked it up on a whim. I like to try out new things and have not ventured into Japanese cuisine much. My attempt at sushi died when I realized that I cannot stand the flavour of nori. I don’t know why I found it surprisingly fishy, it is literally fish food. I also don’t like raw fish so that venture was doomed from the start. There is certainly more to Japanese cuisine than sushi, so we will have to explore these from here. We will start with this miso-style veggie soup, which is vegan. It is a very basic, not authentic (I would never claim such a thing), recipe that you can build on by adding other vegetables, tofu, seitan, meat or fish. It is a versatile basic.  

What is Miso?

Miso is a Japanese seasoning paste made by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji (a fungus Aspergillus oryzae) sometimes with some other ingredients such as grains or seaweed. Sounds tasty, right? This umami flavour bomb can be used to flavour a wide variety of dishes such as sauces, marinades, pickling liquids and stock. Together with dashi (a stock made from kelp and shavings of fermented skipjack tuna and bonito) it makes the famous Japanese dish – miso soup. You can find miso paste in a variety of shades and they have different flavour profiles. Lighter miso paste is milder and darker miso paste has a more intense flavour. It is high in protein (soybeans) and rich in vitamins (vitamin K) and minerals (copper, zinc, manganese). Fermented foods are probiotic and therefore good for your gut health. Due to the high amount of sodium you should consume no more than 6 gr a day of miso paste. Fermented foods have a long shelflife, so they can be kept in the fridge for up to a year. 

Miso Breakdown

  • fermented food=probiotic, don’t bring it to a boil so as to not kill the healthy bacteria in it
  • miso paste can last up to 1 year in the fridge
  • high in protein, vitamins and minerals
  • high in sodium, recommendation for consumption no more than 6 gr per day
  • miso paste can be used to season a variety of dishes (sauces, marinades, pickling liquids, stock)

Miso-Style Veggie Noodle Soup

Yield: 4 portions Difficulty: 1/5 Time: 30 minutes 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbl vegetable oil
  • 3-4 spring onions, sliced
  • 2-3 baby bok choy, greens and stalks seperated and chopped 
  • 200 gr mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbl sesame seeds 
  • 1 tsp chili flake
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1-2 tsp miso paste (light or dark)
  • 1 liter vegetable stock
  • 250 gr wok noodles or cooked ramen
  • 1 carrot, shaved into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
  • soy sauce (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Get the oil in a large pot to high heat and add the bottoms of the spring onions, bok choy stalks and mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and lightly toast the aromatics: sesame seeds, chili flakes, garlic and the ginger. 
  3. Add the miso paste and vegetable stock and let it get hot without letting it come to a boil.
  4. Add the wok noodles, the green leaves of the bok choy and the carrot ribbons and let it cook until the noodles are al dente. Season the broth to taste with a little soy sauce or a a little more water if necessary. (When using cooked ramen, add the ramen to your bowl and cover with the broth.)
  5. Serve the miso soup garnished with some spring onion, sesame seeds and chili flakes. 

Well, there you have an easy recipe for miso-style veggie noodle soup. It is really not hard to make and such a great way to introduce yourself to cooking with miso paste. When looking into this I certainly learned a lot. I cooked all the life out of the miso paste the first time I made it and kept it in my kitchen cupboard. Oops! Well, I hope you enjoyed this recipe I took all day writing. It is one of those days when nothing happens the way I planned them. Stay toasty! 

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