Around the globe in 80 plates: Japan

As well as being delicious it is packed full of health benefits, and with its long history, miso soup is more than just a dish, it’s very much a part of Japanese culture, and it is said, to eat miso soup is to be Japanese.

The history of this dish goes back to ancient times. Miso was bought to Japan from China in the seventh century, it was then turned into a paste by the Japanese and was eaten much like a lollipop for many years.

For some time, miso was considered a luxury, enjoyed by nobility due to its expense as it contained rice, because of this it was at times used as a form of currency.

By the mid fourteenth century miso and miso soup was consumed throughout all Japanese classes, from nobility to farm workers.

Recipes for miso soup changes from city to city, town to town, household to household. But there are two things that are consistent, they must contain miso and dashi, a type of stock, from here you can add a wide range of ingredients. In fact many people will hold dinner parties where everyone will bring a topping to add to the hosts broth.

I’ve kept mine simple, but you really can add any flavour you like.

Ingredients
4 portions

20ml of dashi
800ml of boiling water
2 tbspn of red miso
1 tbspn of soy sauce
150g of tofu
50g of kale

Method

1. In a big pan add your boiling water and dashi, set the heat to medium and stir well.
Add your kale and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.

2. Put your miso paste in a small bowl and add a ladle of your broth. Whisk well, adding a little more broth if needed.

3. Slowly add your miso mix back into your large pan, whisking constantly to make sure it doesn’t split.

4. Add your tofu and soy sauce, then leave to warm for 10 minutes.

Serve and enjoy x

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