Main Courses

Says Who? Miso

Miso is a fermented paste made of various grains and sometimes soybeans, originating in Japan. It’s popularly used for a soup, simple to make but complex in taste. The vegan dish often is eaten for breakfast. Here, it’s a quick lunch that can be made in the microwave oven in the break room at work, taking less time than a frozen supermarket entree designed for “zapping.”

Miso is sold in small plastic tubs, found at natural food stores and Asian groceries. It’s refrigerated and seems to last indefinitely. It’s my understanding that darker and/or longer-aged miso (among those readily available) has stronger flavor.

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable bullion powder, optional
  • 1 cup vegetables, cut up (frozen OK)
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame or other cooked beans or cubed tofu
  • 1 Tablespoon miso

Stovetop instructions: Set water to boil on high in a small saucepan. Add vegetables, and beans or tofu, to the water, even if not boiling yet. When boiling reduce to strong simmer, cover and cook 10 minutes.

Microwave instructions: Place all ingredients but the miso paste into microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high 4-5 minutes, depending on power of microwave.

Either method: Put miso in small bowl or cup. Add a few Tablespoons of hot soup to it then break up miso with spoon. The miso will dissolve into soft granules, so just aim to mush out all lumps. (Boiling miso cuts some of its nutrition and taste.) Add miso mixture back into soup, stir very well. Serve.

Makes 1 large serving. Recipe can be doubled or made in higher multiples.

Copyright 2013 Ben S. Pollock Jr.

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