love miso soup, but never considered making it yourself? Ordering this slightly salty, slightly cloudy, dashi or broth-based soup with bits of tofu and scallions poking out is usually a given if you are going out for sushi or Japanese food. But it’s actually incredibly easy to make at home—as long as you know what you’re doing. And no, we don’t mean faking it with an instant package you heat and eat. That doesn’t count.
We mean taking the time to make your miso soup like a true Japanese chef, which is why we turned to executive chef Taishi Yamaguchi at Katsuya NYC for his expert tips, tricks and miso soup topping recommendations.
Head his advice below and you’ll be mastering the traditional soup in no time.
Related: Best Crock Pot Soup Recipes
What Is Miso Soup?
Miso soup is considered the soup of Japan with many different variations, depending on the prefecture and the region of Japan, but it is made of miso (fermented soybean paste), Katsuobushi (fermented, and dried bonito flakes) and konbu (dried sea kelp ).
Does the Miso You Use Matter?
Feel free to use the miso of your choice for miso soup. A very typical miso soup is a dashi base stock with a mixture of red and white miso called Awase miso. The base can be made with just konbu if you prefer a vegan miso soup, but keep in mind: There are over 100 different types of miso currently in Japan, so feel free to experiment.
Related: Japanese-Style Clear Onion and Mushroom Soup
Miso Soup Ingredients
There are many different types of ingredients for miso soup: tofu, scallions, onions, carrots, pork, daikon radish, seaweed, rice cake…just to name a few. A very basic mix of ingredients for a miso soup is tofu, seaweed and scallions.
For this recipe, we used the following ingredients:
- 4 cups dashi broth (recipe below)
- 2-3 Tbsp miso paste
How to Make Miso Soup
Here’s a handy chart to walk you through it:
- Pour 4 cups of dashi into a soup pan and heat until it simmers.
- Use a whisk to emulsify the miso paste into the simmering dashi.
- In a small soup bowl, put in your desired ingredients (tofu, scallions, etc).
- Pour the hot miso soup into a bowl and serve.
How Long Does Homemade Dashi Broth Last?
Can You Freeze Miso Soup?
Yes! Just remove any toppings like tofu, scallions, etc., and store them in a different bag before freezing. Then thaw, boil, eat!
Related: 10 Best Make-Ahead Soups That Freeze Well
What Does Miso Soup Taste Like?
The taste of miso soup will vary depending on the ingredients used, and the type of miso used. Northern regions and the middle regions of Japan will typically use Shiro miso, or Saikyo miso, which is a sweeter version of miso. The Kansai region and Chubu region of Japan will use a darker red miso, or a Haccho miso, which has a slighter bitter finish. The Tohoku region of Japan will use a Mugi miso (barley), or a Koji miso (sake lees), which has a milder aftertaste.
How to Serve Miso Soup
In the west, miso soup is typically served before your meal as a starter. In Japan, miso soup is served with the meal as an accompaniment to the meal.
Katsuya is also known for its creative sushi menu, Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice, Pop Rock Shrimp, Wagyu Gyoza, Whole Tai Snapper, Miso Glazed Black Cod and Baked Crab Hand Rolls—all of which pair exceptionally well with their Classic Miso Soup.
Best Miso Soup Toppings
There are literally hundreds of variations of miso soups. Some unique miso soup toppings are: clams, lobster, abalone, mochi, fish heads, king crab, whole fish, shrimp heads, salmon and salmon roe and the list goes on and on.