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Miso Happy Broth

This version of miso soup was created by the lovely, talented Siona Sammartino and me one Friday during Whole Foods Cooking lab and named by Jane.   The deeply-flavored broth is nourishing on many levels.  Try it and see.

1 tablespoon unrefined sesame oil
1 yellow onion, cut in half moons
2 carrots, chopped
2 teaspoons unrefined toasted sesame oil
6 cups water
1 4-inch piece of wakame

1 3-inch piece of ginger, sliced
˝ cup bonito flakes
˝  cup brown miso

˝ pound firm tofu, cut into ˝ "cubes

2 scallions, finely chopped
2-3 leaves of bok choy, cut in thin ribbons
Unrefined hot pepper sesame oil or hot sauce

Choose a heavy bottom  soup pot; cast iron or enameled cast iron work well.  Heat oil in the pot for about a minute.  Add onions and allow them to slowly cook on low heat until they brown, only stirring occasionally for about 25-30 minutes.  For more on how to caramelize onions, watch this
. Add carrots and allow to soften and brown as well, for about 10 minutes.  Finish sauté by adding toasted sesame oil.

Deglaze pot by adding water and scraping up browned vegetable bits from bottom of the pot into the water.  Add wakame, ginger and bonito flakes.  Simmer and allow flavors to infuse broth for at least 20-30 minutes uncovered.

Get a second soup pot and pour broth through a large mesh strainer into it.  The vegetables are basically "spent" as their nutrients and flavor have gone into the broth, though you may think of another use for them.  Add tofu to the broth.  Clean out the large strainer.  Place the miso in it and lower it into the broth.  Using a wooden spoon or spatula dissolve the miso into the broth by pushing against the strainer.  A second option is to put 1-2 tablespoons of miso into each serving bowl, add some broth and stir to dissolve; this would be of interest if you are not planning to eat all of the soup in one sitting.  Be careful not to heat the miso to boiling or the beneficial bacteria will be lost.  Fill each serving bowl with broth and tofu and garnish with scallions, greens and a drop or two of hot pepper oil.

Preparation time: 1 hour
Makes 4-6 eight ounce servings
Copyright 2010, C. Lair, S. Sammartino, Original recipe

About Miso

Miso has been a staple of Japanese cooking for 2500 years.  It is thought to promote long life and good health  and has also been touted as neutralizing some of the negative effects of smoking, air pollution and radiation sickness. 

It is a savory, salty soybean paste made by combining soybeans with a fermented rice culture called koji.  Koji is made from a lactic acid producing bacteria, a grain, and aspergillus oryzae.  The soybean/koji mixture undergoes an intricate fermentation and aging process for 6-months to 2 years.  Miso making is considered a fine craftsmanship in traditional Japanese culture.

The fermentation process gives miso beneficial enzymes that aid digestion - like yogurt - a "live" food.  Miso made from chickpeas (non-soy) is available too - chickpeaso.  Buy unpasteurized miso and cook it as little as possible to preserve the beneficial enzymes.  Miso kept stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container will keep indefinitely.



Cynthia, I was just curious; do you know approximately how many subscribers you have world wide? BTW, I love your site and videos! I can really relate to Steve, lol...
February 23, 2011, 10:16 am

Jennifer B. / Brooklyn
Oh, I get it! Mi - so happy. Wow, that took me long enough. But YUM, a new way to make miso soup; my daughter will be thrilled, as am I.
February 23, 2011, 3:24 pm

Kate R
Tried it last night - yum! We'd like to make it vegetarian, though. Can we just leave out the bonito flakes? Do you have a suggestion for a substitution?
February 24, 2011, 1:14 pm

Cynthia Lair
Hi Kate, Bonito flakes give miso soup it's characteristic flavor. You can leave them out and still have a good soup. Can't think of a substitute.
February 24, 2011, 1:55 pm

Barb B. / Reading, PA
Hi, my first time on. Love the video. I take it Steve is the interruptus part of Cookus Interruptus? Kidding... Too funny. Love the recipe and can't wait to try. Can you buy bonito flakes and wakame at your local health food store? Many thanks.
February 26, 2011, 7:57 am

Cynthia Lair
Hi Barb, Welcome! Glad to have you tune in. Bonito flakes and wakame can be purchased at stores such as Whole Foods Market. They are also available at Asian markets.
February 26, 2011, 8:25 am

Marie T
This soup is absolutely delicious.I am doubling the recipe in order to have it on hand every day!I even overbrowned the onions a bit today but it is still yummy. What is the maximum temp for heating broth, before mixing with the miso, to retain the probiotic benefits? Thanks.
February 28, 2011, 7:22 pm

Ruby Cacchione
We've been without a computer for over a week and finally back on line! I'm heading to market to pick up the ingredients for Miso Happy Broth - yum yum. Thank you!
March 1, 2011, 12:27 pm

Cynthia Lair
Hi Marie, You can heat the broth to a simmer before stirring in miso. Then turn the heat off, allow the broth to quit simmering (straining the vegetables out will do that) and add miso. Just don't simmer the miso.
March 3, 2011, 9:01 am

yasmine khattab
I wil definitely make this soup. Can I feed my 10 month old baby from it? He eats whatever we eat!
January 18, 2012, 9:12 pm

Cynthia Lair
Yasmine, The broth is wonderful for baby, just keep the miso very light in the little one's bowl.
January 19, 2012, 9:49 am

roma fernandes
I am lactose intolerant,can I still use Miso.Thanks
January 19, 2012, 11:11 am

Cynthia Lair
Roma, YES. Miso is made entirely from soybeans. There is no milk (so no casein or lactose) involved.
January 19, 2012, 11:18 am

Melissa Parker
Sounds good. I love experimenting with different styles of cooking. Have you used a tangine before? I work with Pacific Merchants and was recently introduced to them. Here's a link to a tangine: Right now Pacific Merchants is offering a code that will give you 15% OFF of your order at time of checkout: PM20YEARS if you want to try it.
January 19, 2012, 10:46 pm

Kelly Merta
Great recipe!
January 23, 2012, 12:25 pm

Laura Gardener
Hi, I'm a first-quarter Culinary Arts Student at the Seattle Culinary Academy and a friend recommended your site. It was timely since our Chef-Instructor was just talking about Umami in relation to Bonito and Wakame (Dashi broth). I've eaten Miso for years, but I've never made a full broth myself from a recipe like this. Glad to hear that Miso can keep nearly indefinitely because I've had a few tubs of Westbrae in different colors/flavors for a while, since the last time I committed to eating more Miso. Hopefully you droll video will spur me on to more regular Miso use. I'll let all my student-peers know about your show. Laura Wolfe Garddener
January 27, 2012, 10:18 pm

Laura Gardener
Cynthia, How funny. As I was watching the Miso video I'm thinking, That guy looks familiar. Could it be Matt Smith? I studied improv with Matt many years ago, when I studied and directed theatre at the Northwest Actor's studio. I saw him more recently when I played my accordion at an auction he was auctioneering. He wouldn't know me by my current name, however. I've got a pot of Miso Happy Soup coming on right now. I just have to strain my Miso. Gotta go! Laura Wolfe Gardener
January 29, 2012, 9:21 pm

Hilary Heinz
My local Asian market didn't have wakame and don't want to drag sick boy across town. Is it OK if I use kombu? I've always used that in miso before. Don't know if it's at all similar.
January 30, 2013, 12:36 pm

Hilary Heinz
I also seem to have some hijiki...
January 30, 2013, 1:13 pm

Cynthia Lair
Hi Hilary, Kombu is good for flavoring the stock but it is tought and would be chewy in the broth. Cooking the soup with kombu and then removing the kombu works to give the broth more minerals. Hiziki has a very strong flavor and I fear it would overwhelm the flavor of the broth.
January 31, 2013, 10:43 am

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