What is Miso Soup?
Miso soup (Japanese: 味噌汁 "miso shiru) is a soup cooked with miso (miso paste).
In Tokyo dialect, it's also called "omi-otsuke."
Miso soup has been eaten as an adjunct to rice since the Kamakura-Muromachi period, and it is one of the basic menu of Japanese food until this modern times.
Miso soup is made from fermented food (miso paste) which makes it's special with various characteristics that other soups don't have, and it's also appreciated from old times to modern times because of its nutritional aspect.
す。There are various types of dashi (broth; cooking soup stock used in Japanese cuisine), miso paste, and ingredients used for making miso soup.
Different regions in Japan also have their own special feature of miso soups.
The Types and Tastes of Miso
Misos are often called by color and name of its area or origin, but broadly speaking, there are only three big groups of miso based on what they're made of.
They are rice miso, barley miso, and soybean miso.
Each of them has their own characteristics.
● Rice Miso (Komé Miso)
Misos made from rice koji. It is characterized by its wide variety from Sendai Spicy Miso and Shinshu Miso, to Kyoto Sweet White Miso.
● Barley Miso (Mugi Miso)
Misos made from barley koji. Kyushu region is the main production area. Low saltiness and sweet taste.
● Soybean Miso (Mamé Miso)
Misos made from soybean koji. The fermentation period is long, the Hatcho Miso made in Aichi Prefecture is one famous kind of soybean miso. It has strong salty taste and rich umami taste.
There's also a type of miso which is the combination of two or more of these types of miso, called "Awase miso" or blended/mixed miso.
The taste and aroma become complex and delicious.
"Akadashi miso" (literally means "red soup miso") which is often used for miso soup is one of the awase miso, which is a combination of rice miso and soybean miso (with soybean miso as its base).
Please read the following article to know more about various types of miso.
The Types Of Miso: Red Miso, White Miso… There Are More Than You Thought!
Maybe some of you have known about red miso (aka miso) and white miso (shiro miso).
But actually, there are a lot of varieties of misos.
In this article, we will tell you the types of miso that Japanese people usually eat.
Read the article of "The Types Of Miso" here.
Also please read this article for how to make miso paste!
How to Make Miso
We will tell you how to make delicious homemade miso, which this recipe is an instruction from miso manufacturer summarized by Kawashima the Japan Store.
We also wrote the important point in miso-making, and Q & A about miso from the miso manufacturer.
Read the article of "How to Make Miso" here.
Red Miso vs White Miso
The words "red miso" (or aka miso) and "white miso" (or shiro miso) are actually names that refer only to the color of the appearance, and there is no clear difference between them.
- Red Miso (Japanese: 赤味噌 "aka miso") → Higher salt content. Has stronger umami flavor due to long-term fermentation period. Mostly found in Eastern Japan.
- White Miso (Japanese: 白味噌 "shiro miso") → Lower salt content. Has sweeter taste from the koji. Mostly found in Western Japan.
It's often said that there are characteristics like that above, but the color of miso changes depending on multiple factors such as the fermentation period and the amount of koji.
It's difficult to classify a wide variety of misos into just two colors, "red" and "white," and what it means when you say "red miso" differs depending on the person.
So, red miso and white miso are unofficial classification of miso—just names to call the miso by its color at the time you eat that.
Calories and Nutritions in the Miso Soup
The calories and nutrition of miso soup vary depending on the dashi and the ingredients added, but it's about 40 kcal in a cup of miso soup with red miso paste and katsuo dashi without any other ingredients.
For example, the calories of the classic "green onion and tofu miso soup" is about 60 kcal per cup.
Compared to Western-style soups that often had oil added and stir-fried, the calories in miso soup are quite low.
The sugar content in miso soup is also low, just about 3g for one cup.
It's no wonder a lot of people use miso soup for dieting.
In terms of nutritions, it contains protein (9 essential amino acids), vitamin B2, vitamin E, dietary fiber, minerals, and various subtances such as isoflavone, choline, and lecithin.
Miso soup can be said as a very healthy menu, as it's easy to have balanced and nutrition by a miso soup with a bunch of ingredients.
There are also some local governments in Japan that recommend their citizens to consume "miso soup with abundant ingredients."
Salt Content in Miso Soup: Is It High and Bad for Health?
There is a rumour that "miso soup is salty and bad for the body" and "miso soup can cause high blood pressure."
On the other hand, there is also an opinion that "miso soup can lower the blood pressure."
Which one is the truth?
The amount of salt contained in miso soup is about 1.2g per cup.
If you drink one cup for each three meals a day (means 3 cups a day), you'll consume about half of the daily salt intake standard (8g for male, 7g for female) with miso soup at 3.6g.
Maybe you will think, "Won't it be too much for one kind of dish?"
However, according to a study by Kyoritsu Women's University, it is known that "salt in miso soup does not affect blood pressure."
Miso has the effect of suppressing the rise in blood pressure, which seems to counteract the effect of its salinity.
If you considering about blood pressure, you can say that miso soup is better than salt or soy sauce soup.
In addition, miso is said to have various health effects such as cancer prevention, lifestyle-related disease prevention, aging prevention and radiation protection.
So, miso soup is undoubtedly good for health!
Miso and Health: Explanation from Abundant Nutrients of Miso to Its Expiration Date
Miso, a seasoning that has deep relationship with Japanese eating habit.
As there are a wide variety of miso soup and miso dishes, are there people who have never tasted miso yet?
This time, we will tell you in detail from how miso is made to nutritional facts of miso.
Read the article of "Miso and Health: Explanation from Abundant Nutrients of Miso to Its Expiration Date" here.
Recommended Ingredients for Miso Soup
The ingredients for making miso soup, which is made every day, tend to become boring.
Maybe you'll think, "It's white radish again, but I want to taste something different from this one."
Here, we made a list of the recommended combinations of miso ingredients for such a time.
Try various combinations of ingredients and match them to the season and your physical condition!
Seafood Miso Soup
The miso recommended for seafood miso soup is rice miso, which has completely fermented.
For the dashi, if you use the combination of katsuo dashi and kombu dashi, you will have a very Japanese style miso soup.
Miso soup with wakame is also very suitable with niboshi (also called iriko, is Japanese dried infant sardines), and will bring Japanese-home-style taste.
(Japanese littleneck clam/Manila clam)
||Small green onion, green onion, mitsuba (parsley/Japanese parsley)
(Japanese basket clam)
||Small green onion, mistuba, sanshō (pepper/Japanese pepper)
||Tofu, deep-fried tofu (aburaage), onion, potato
● Asari Miso Soup
Containing a lot of taurine, it works well for fatigue recovery.
Also effective in preventing anemia because it contains iron and vitamin B12.
Put in seawater for 2-3 hours, put in a dark place, then remove sands from the clam, then use it for cooking.
● Shijimi Miso Soup
It contains a component called ornithine that helps the liver function, a non-proteinogenic amino acid that plays a role in the urea cycle.
It is a standard miso soup for the day after a drinking party, but it contains a large amount of taurine, iron, calcium, vitamins, etc., and contains plenty of important nutrition not only important for adults but also for children.
● Wakame Miso Soup
Although low in calories, wakame is rich in dietary fiber and minerals.
It has good effects for intestinal regulation and hypertension.
Take just a moderate time when submerging wakame in the water (to rehydrate it), so that the nutritions don't flow out.
It's delicious whether you leave the texture as it is or simmer it until it's sticky.
Miso Soup with Root Vegetables
For miso soup with vegetables, we recommend "akadashi miso" that combines a strong flavor of soybean miso and rice miso.
Kyoto-style white miso, which has a creamy taste, goes well with vegetables that have a soft taste like turnip.
We recommend to use dashi from animal ingredients for this miso soup, such as katsuo dashi and niboshi dashi. Dashi combined with kombu is also recommended.
||Onions, seaweed, cabbage, komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach), napa cabbage
||Wakame, carrot, deep-fried tofu (abura-age), pork, komatsuna
||Egg, potato, seaweed, pumpkin
||Deep-fried tofu (aburaage), onion, pork, mushrooms, root vegetables
||Turnip's leaf, komatsuna, fried tofu (aburaage), nameko mushroom
||Onion, napa cabbage, shimeji mushroom, shiitake mushroom
● Miso Soup with Potatoes
Potato is rich in potassium and has the effect of lowering blood pressure.
It's also rich in vitamin B1 and vitamin C.
Vitamin C which is contained in potatoes is more resistant to heat, so it can be taken well in your body even if you make it to miso soup.
You can enjoy a sense of hotness if you cut the potato in rather large size.
● Miso soup with White Radish (Daikon)
Vitamin C and digestive enzymes of white radish will be reduced when it's heated, but potassium, calcium, and dietary fiber in it will still intact even if put it in miso soup.
Speaking of miso soup with daikon radish, it's always suitable with pork miso soup.
When combined with other root vegetables and mushrooms to make miso soup with abundant ingredients, miso soup will have a lot of extract and will be more delicious.
● Miso soup with Onion
If onion is heated, it will have blood flow improvement effect.
This is miso soup that you can drink all the ingredients in it along with the soup without leaving any nutrition behind!
It will be more effective if you leave it for a while after cutting and before putting in the soup.
● Miso Soup with Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potato is rich in dietary fiber. It's also rich in useful substances for beauty, such as vitamin C and vitamin E, which are resistant to heat.
There people who don't like it if the miso soup become sweet, but it'll be delicious without being too sweet when combined with pork, mushrooms, and fried tofu (aburaage).
● Miso Soup with Turnip
There are more nutrients in the leaves than in the roots.
If you get turnip with leaves, put it in the miso soup as a whole.
To taste the delicate sweetness and texture of turnip, we recommend a combination of katsuo and kombu dashi.
● Miso Soup with Pumpkin
Pumpkins are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin E, which make them have antioxidative effects and the effect of enhancing immunity. Highly recommended for preventing colds.
If you don't like your miso soup to taste sweet, you may want to make sure that you have a good not-sweet dashi along with the pumpkin.
Miso Soup with Fruit & Leaf Vegetables
For the miso soup with fruit vegetables and leaf vegetables, basically, a combination of "aka dashi miso" and "animal-based + kombu dashi" is recommended.
You can also combine the spicy "rice miso" with vegetables that have a strong sweet taste, such as cabbage, or even match it with sweet Kyoto white miso.
||Small green onion, egg, aburaage, okra
||Tofu, eggplant, enoki mushroom, wakame seaweed
||Egg, onion, enoki mushroom, aburaage, mung bean sprouts
|Komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach)
||Potato, tofu, white radish (daikon), aburaage, mushrooms
||Potato, green onion, aburaage, egg, shiitake mushroom
||White radish (daikon), aburaage, salmon, enoki mushroom, shiitake mushroom
|Mizuna (Japanese mustard greens/
||Tofu, fried tofu (aburaage), carrots, egg, potato
● Miso Soup with Eggplant
Eggplant's purple color contains a polyphenol called nasunin, which has strong antioxidant effect.
Because of that, it's better cook the eggplant with skin unpeeled.
The soft eggplant is suitable with syrupy ingredients such as egg and okra.
● Miso Soup with Okra
Okra, which is said to have an effect on intestinal regulation and to protect mucous membranes, is a summer-season healthy vegetable that is rich in beta-carotene.
It's recommended that to make the best of the slime in okra by combining it with ingredients that have sticky texture.
● Miso Soup with Spinach
Spinach is rich in iron and anti-cancer beta-carotene.
Because it's rich in oxalic acid, use it after boling it in boiling water.
It goes well with mild and easy-tasting ingredients such as eggs and deep-fried tofu (aburaage).
● Miso Soup with Komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach)
Just like spinach, komatsuna is rich in beta-carotene and calcium.
It's one of the vegetables that you can put into miso soup on a daily basis, as it is compatible with various ingredients such as potatoes, greater burdock, root vegetables such as white radish, and mushrooms.
● Miso Soup with Cabbage
Gastrointestinal-friendly cabbage. Cabbage has a preventive effect on cancer, and it's a vegetable that we want to consume positively.
Since the core is also nutritious, please slice the core thinly and add into your delicious miso soup.
The nutritions in cabbage will be reduced if it's boiled too much, so be careful!
● Miso Soup with Napa Cabbage
All kinds of ingredients are compatible with napa cabbage, but when put together with animal ingredients such as pork and salmon, the goodness of each other is enhanced.
It's also a nice point that calories in napa cabbage are low even though you eat plenty of it.
● Miso Soup with Mizuna (Japanese mustard greens/spider mustard)
Mizuna, which has a delicious and crisp texture, is best to put it in the pot just before turning off the heat. It will bring out the best texture of mizuna into your miso soup.
It's also suitable with vegetables which have similar texture such as enoki mushroom and onion.
Other Miso Soups
Bean products and mushrooms are also the staple ingredients of miso soup.
Strong-flavored ingredients are best if combined with strong-flavored miso paste and the mixture of niboshi and kombu dashi.
Light-flavored ingredients are best if combined with mild-flavored miso paste and the mixture of katsuo and kombu dashi.
If you use these combinations to your miso soup, they will bring out the best taste of the ingredients to your miso soup!
||Small green onion, green onion, wakame seaweed, pork, mushrooms, root vegetables
||Wakame, komatsuna, tofu, onion, aburaage
||Small green onion, green onion, tofu, komatsuna, spinach
||Small green onion, green onion, nori seaweed, okra, komatsuna, mushrooms
● Miso Soup with Tofu
Tofu contains a lot of of protein even with such low calories.
It's a highly recommended ingredient for your growing children.
You can enjoy the soft and smooth texture of the silken tofu (kinu/kinugoshi tofu) if you cut it into small size.
It's also good to to use momen tofu or cotton tofu and cut in largely, and enjoy the immersive taste.
● Miso Soup with Enoki Mushroom
Enoki mushroom is enriched with dietary fiber and vitamins.
It also contains GABA that has an anti-stress effect, so it's recommended when you want feel calm and relieved.
You can enjoy the crispy or soft of enoki mushroom depending on the strength of heat when you cook it.
● Miso Soup with Nameko Mushroom
Nameko mushroom contains chondroitin, which is said to be good for preventing joint pain.
This is a food that you would like to eat when you are concerned about knee or elbow pain.
Its compatibility with miso soup is outstanding, and it can be eaten deliciously with the soup stock coming out of the nameko itself even without other ingredients.
● Miso Soup with Natto
You may be think that it's really weird to put natto in miso soup.
But actually, miso and natto are quite compatible with each other.
When natto is heated, its stickiness becomes thinner and the aroma changes and it becomes easier to eat.
It's good to make natto-miso soup with a thick and strong-flavored dashi combined with strong-flavored miso paste.
How to Make Miso Soup and Miso Soup Recipes
"How to Make Miso Soup" is explained on this following article.
We also write about how to make genuine dashi, and a lot of easy and delicious miso soup recipes!
Please have a look.
How to Make Miso Soup: Easy & Delicious Miso Soup Recipes and Recommended Tasty Miso!
The basic menu of Japanese food, the miso soup.
The miso soup, which is being made casually, also has a completely different taste depending on how to cook the soup and how to choose the miso.
Let's make delicious miso soup to your favorite!
Read the article of "How to Make Miso Soup" here.