Impromptu Miso Soup

  • Active Time 15m
  • Total Time 15m

Serves 1 or 2

Miso soup is one of the World's most tonic potions. The good news is that with high-quality miso on hand, you don't have to go to a Japanese restaurant to enjoy this restorative soup. Indeed, my version is so quick and easy to make that it can easily become a regular on your menu--as it has on mine.
So that I can prepare this soup at a moment's notice, I have not attempted to reproduce a classic miso soup, which requires the initial step of preparing the stock called DASHI. Instead I create an interesting broth by blending two types of miso and adding a briny sea vegetable called WAKAME. Experiment by shifting the balance of light and dark misos until you arrive at the formula that works best for you. You can also vary the taste by adding a teaspoon of grated fresh ginger or shitake mushroom powder, or a few cilantro leaves.
This recipe makes enough for two small restaurant-sized portions or one large bowlful. Feel free to double or triple the amounts.


  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 2 ounces firm or extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon sweet white miso
  • 2 teaspoons barley miso
  • 1 tablespoon instant wakame flakes (see note) or 1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach or bok choy leaves
  • 1 scallion, very thinly sliced, for garnish


Bring the water to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan.

Ladle out about 1/2 cup of the boiling water and pour it into a glass measuring cup. Add the tofu to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

While the tofu is cooking, blend the two misos into the hot water by mashing the paste against the sides of the cup with a fork and stirring vigorously.

Just before serving, add the wakame or fresh greens to the saucepan and simmer the soup uncovered until the wakame is reconstituted, about 30 seconds, or the fresh greens are tender, 1 to 2 minutes.

Turn off the heat and stir in the miso broth. Ladle into bowls, garnish with the scallion, and serve immediately.


Wakame flakes reconstitute within about 30 seconds of being stirred into hot water. They are available in many natural-food stores and Asian groceries. Or you can purchase a package of whole wakame and snip the leaves into tiny bits. Discard any thick central ribs.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Chronicle. All rights reserved.

RecID 1533

nutrition information per serving

53 calories; 1g total fat; 0mg cholesterol; 542mg sodium; 6g carbohydrates; 1g fiber; 4g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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