You won’t believe how richly satisfying a bowl of this broth can be and how easy it is to make. Miso is a fermented paste made from soybeans. It’s very nutritious and a staple of Japanese and vegetarian cooking. If you can boil water, you can make this broth.
Yield: Serves 4
4 cups chicken broth
a small knob frozen ginger
2 cups shiitake or button mushrooms, thinly sliced
8 ounces Japanese soba (buckwheat) noodles
4 heaping Tablespoons fresh miso paste
a dash or two hot pepper sauce to taste
1 sheet nori seaweed, finely shredded with scissors
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Bring the chicken broth (or water) to a simmer in a stockpot.
Grate the frozen ginger into the broth with a Microplane grater or the smallest holes on a standard box grater. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until tender, about 10 minutes or so.
Add the soba noodles and continue simmering until nearly tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the miso paste, hot sauce, nori seaweed and green onions. Continue cooking just long enough to heat everything through, about 1 minute. Miso is a bit delicate so it’s always best to add it to the hot liquid and then serve it immediately. Miso broth is fine if it sits a while but it tastes best freshly made.
Try adding a handful of bean sprouts or chopped Asian greens to the simmering broth. For an even richer flavour, feel free to add more miso paste. There are many types to choose from ranging from light to dark. In general, the flavour gets stronger as the colour gets darker. Some are even flavoured with fermented grains.