Japanese Healthy Eating would like to share some recipes and information on one of the most nourishing and delicious traditional Japanese foods – miso soup.
What is Miso?
Miso is a paste made by fermenting soybeans and/or rice and barley with salt and a fungus called kojikin. Miso is normally salty but its flavor depends on how it is produced and the ingredients that are combined with it.
Miso paste is high in protein, vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and probiotics. It really is a super food.
The Best Healthy Diet Includes Miso Soup
It`s a good source of Vitamin B12.
1 tablespoon of miso paste contains 2 grams of protein (and just 25 calories)
High in zinc – for healthy immune function
High in antioxidants
Anti-aging – protects from free radicals that cause signs of aging.
Nourishing for the intestines and supports proper digestion.
Supports good collagen and elastin for flexibility in blood vessels, bones and joints.
Helps iron get properly absorbed into the body
Protection against breast cancer – Japanese women do have a lower incidence of breast cancer. Researchers at the University of Alabama conducted a study on miso and found that miso delayed the appearance of induced breast cancer in lab animals. The miso-supplemented animals had lower number of cancers and a higher number of benign tumors
For more information click here.
Protection against the effects of nuclear radation.
Antiviral -- miso is very alkalizing and strengthening to the immune system helping to combat a viral infection
Great eating for healthy skin - miso contains linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that helps your skin stay soft and free of pigments
Helps reduce symptoms of menopause - the isoflavones in miso have been shown to reduce hot flashes.
How to Make Miso Soup
This is a basic miso soup recipe that I cook up everyday for my little girl. I often add in the optional extras listed below. If you can`t get them or they are too expensive (esp. the seaweeds) where you live, just drop them and experiment with what you have. You will still reap the health benefits of miso.
Time to prepare & cook: 15 minutes
2 teaspoons dashi (Japanese fish flakes – to make fish stock)
4 cups water
3 tablespoons miso paste
1 (8 ounce) package silken tofu, diced
2 green onions or spring onions, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
Konbu & Wakame– (two types of seaweed) essential ingredients in Japanese miso soup. Available at asian food stores and health food stores. They add more depth and flavor (as well as more healthy minerals)
Pork – thinly sliced and cut into small pieces. Miso and pork are great flavor partners.
Carrots – chopped into small pieces
Substitutions - For a vegetarian version or if you have no dashi – add vegetable stock instead. It`s still delicious. - No tofu? No problem! A simple miso soup without tofu is often served as a side dish in restaurants. See the photo above - the only vegetable included are a few asian mushrooms.
Directions Soak 2 tablespoons of Wakame in water if you have it. (for at least 5 minutes) to soften them up. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine water and dashi (add a 5 cm piece of konbu if you have it). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Remove dashi and konbu. This is the stock. Add onion (carrots/other vegetables and pork) and simmer until carrots are tender. If you only add onions, a couple of minutes of simmering will do. Add the miso paste. The miso will soften and dissolve as it is heated. Whisking helps speed up the process. Stir in tofu and wakame. That`s it! Ready to serve with rice. Pickles are a great condiment.