It's not even October and we have already had a nasty cold make its way through our family. Starting with Jamie last week, this little virus has infected all of us in one way or another. I am particularly enjoying the rattling, tubercular-sounding cough. Kara felt so cruddy yesterday that I had her stay home. A sick day in September? Really?
Even though it has been humid and warm all week, this little bout of illness made me crave some soothing soup. I had just read about the medicinal qualities of miso. And since everything you read on the internet must be true, I thought that I would make a little miso soup to help the healing process. (Also, I happened to have some miso in my fridge.)
Here's the thing, if you like miso soup, you should make some - even if you aren't suffering from an awful cold. It is really easy and tasted great. Most miso soup recipes call for chicken stock or dashi, a Japanese soup stock that you can buy in any Asian grocery store. I didn't have either of these ingredients, so I made a vegetarian miso soup. The whole thing was complete in about 10 minutes.
-Chop some vegetables to flavor your soup. I used one shallot, a stalk of celery and one carrot.
-Saute the veggies in a pot with a bit of oil for a few minutes.
-Add 4 cups of water or stock of any kind.
-Bring up to a simmer. At this point I added about a cup of cubed firm tofu. Completely optional.
-In a small bowl add 2-4 tbsp of miso paste. Scoop out some of the hot water from the pot into the bowl and dissolve the miso. Pour the now liquid miso into the pot.
*Note: There are lots of miso varieties. I had a mild white miso in my refrigerator, but other varieties would work too. Also, the saltiness and strength of miso can vary widely, so start small. You can always add more if the soup doesn't taste "misoy" enough.
-Taste and season. You can add some soy sauce or red pepper flakes if that works for you.
-One last important instruction: Don't boil your soup with the miso in it. The miso will turn gritty and yucky.