There are times, especially in the cooler months, when I crave a hearty, richer miso soup.
A basic miso soup is mostly broth, with bits of wakame, maybe a few slices of daikon, shiitake mushroom, miso and a scallion garnish. Super simple and yummy, for sure. Exactly the thing to make when I am needing to alkalize my system, I have overindulged or am getting over a simple cold.
However, sometimes we need a boost in nourishment or a soup that has many of the healing, balancing qualities of a basic miso soup, but with that something extra that warms and strengthens as well.
There are many things you can add to miso soup to create this effect. If you have been studying macrobiotics for a while, you may be able to pick and choose depending on your own condition, the weather and what you feel you are needing for the day. If you are newer to macrobiotics and energetic perspective on food, experiment. Try things. See what feels and tastes good to you. You can learn as you go.
Some add-ins to consider:
pan-fried tempeh or tofu (add mid-way through cooking time or at the end)
mochi, cut into small cubes (add near the end and simmer gently until the mochi softens)
fresh or dried mushrooms (add at the beginning or mid-way through cooking time)
natto (add at the end)
pre-cooked noodles (add at the end)
pan-fried bread croutons (add as a garnish)
sautéed half-moon onions (add any time)
Here is a miso soup I made recently. Approach this recipe as a template. Adjust the amount of liquid based on how much soup you want to make and then season accordingly, using 1/2 to 1 tsp of miso per cup of liquid.
Nourishing Miso Soup
4-6 cups water
3-4 inches wakame
2-3 dried shiitake mushrooms, soak, slice and add to soup along with soaking liquid
1/3 onion, sliced in half moons
1/2-3/4 cup diced winter squash (kabocha, buttercup or red kuri) seeded, peel off gnarly bits and cut into half-inch dice
1/2 cup sliced daikon, half moons
handful of dark leafy greens, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup small cubes of mochi (I recently got some incredible hand-made mochi from Tama Organic in Vancouver,BC-otherwise you will need to source your own, buy it through Natural Import Company or make it by hand)
brown rice or chickpea miso to taste (1/2-1 tsp per cup of liquid) I love South River Miso
scallion or herb garnish, chopped
1. Place the wakame, shiitake mushrooms and water in a medium size pan. Bring to a boil on medium heat. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove the wakame and cut into small pieces and return it to the pan.
2. Add the onion, winter squash and daikon to the pot and simmer until the squash is soft.
3. Add the greens and mochi and continue to simmer for 2 minutes.
4. Place the miso in a small bowl. Add some of the cooking liquid to the bowl and stir until miso dissolves. With the soup on low and at a very light simmer, add the miso. Take care to not let the soup boil. Simmer gently for a few minutes. Remove from heat.
5. Serve the soup with a garnish. Enjoy!