Simple miso soup

May 21, 2023 at 10:43 am (Alma's faves, Japanese, Monthly menu plan: dinner, My brain, Silken tofu, soup, unrated, Website / blog)

I never remember the ratios for miso soup, so I’m going to record them here. This is a guess at what is needed for 3 bowls of soup:


  • 3 cups of dashi (more precisely, 720ml, which is slightly under 1 cup)
  • 3 Tbs. (about 75g?) of light-colored miso (awase/yellow or shiro/white)
  • 1-2 tsp. dried wakame, soaked in cold water for about 5 minutes, then drained well (about 5-6 pieces per bowl, maybe 3g?)
  • 1/2 package silken tofu, diced very small (1/2 cup?, 5 ounces or 150g)
  • 1-3? Tbs. thinly sliced scallions (or up to 1/2 cup?)

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Vegetarian Okonomiyaki (Japanese Cabbage Pancakes)

February 5, 2017 at 1:50 pm (101 cookbooks, A (4 stars, love, favorite), Alma's faves, breakfast, Cruciferous rich, Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Japanese, Monthly menu plan: dinner, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, Spring recipes, Winter recipes) ()

I was looking for a green cabbage recipe that a toddler would like, and I came across this pretty simple (albeit quite Americanized) vegetarian Okonomiyaki recipe on the 101 cookbooks blog. Alma generally likes pancakes, so I decided to give it a try. Below is a doubled version of the original recipe, with a few modifications. Derek and I like them a lot, and it’s a relatively quick recipe, so suitable for a weeknight dinner or a Sunday lunch.

One thing I was concerned about in terms of making this recipe kid friendly is the name. Luckily Alma doesn’t know the word “yucky” yet (she’s only learned the German “bäh” at daycare so far). But if she did I’d be worried about her thinking the name was Okonomi-yukky. Maybe if you’re serving this to kids for the first time you should call it Okonomi-yummy instead.

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Miso tahini soup with turnips and colorful veggies

May 25, 2014 at 7:00 pm (101 cookbooks, A (4 stars, love, favorite), breakfast, Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Grains, Japanese, Miso, Quick weeknight recipe, Root vegetables, soup, Spring recipes, Winter recipes, Yearly menu plan)

It’s turnip time! My farmer’s market here in Saarbruecken is full of beautiful bunches of white turnip, with the greens still attached. The name for these turnips is Mairübchen, literally “little May root” or “May root-let.” But they’re not little. Each turnip is about 2 to 3.5 inches in diameter. I’ve been buying lots of turnips just so I can eat the greens, but I had to figure out what to do with the turnips themselves.

I’ve never been a huge turnip fan, and I don’t have so many go-to recipe. I like them raw in salads, in soup (with leeks, potatoes, and chard), and in stews (like this tagine or Thai curry).  But I had one last delicata squash from the fall that was turning soft and needed to get used up, and some leftover brown rice int the fridge, so rather than making an old recipe, I decided to try a new recipe for miso tahini soup from 101cookbooks. I love Peter Berley’s miso-based tortilla soup with avocados, so the addition of avocado didn’t seem that odd. But a miso soup with tahini and lemon? I could not imagine it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Shiitakes, tofu, and miso

December 26, 2011 at 9:44 pm (Japanese, Miso, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, unrated, Vegetable dishes)

When I first moved to Saarbruecken there were no shiitakes to be found, but in the last three years they’ve started appearing at a few stores around town.  They’re quite expensive, but at least they exist! I splurged on a bag of shiitakes the other day, and ended up throwing together a quick, tasty stir-fry with an onion, the shiitakes, some diced tofu, and miso.  I sauteed the onion and shiitakes in just a touch of olive oil, then added the tofu and the miso at the end.  I don’t have a recipe, but I loved the combination, and so I thought I’d record it here so I don’t forget it.

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Trip report: Vegetarian Tokyo September 2011

November 27, 2011 at 10:33 pm (Japanese, Trip report)

I’ve waited so long to write about my Tokyo trip that my recollection of the details has mostly faded.  The main thing that I remember is that food in Tokyo is extremely expensive.  Everything is about twice as much as you would pay in Europe or the U.S., and some things (like fruit and nuts) are even more expensive.   Ignoring the prices, though, I had a lot of very tasty food.  Here are the food memories have persisted: Read the rest of this entry »

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Cafe Gratitude Sushi Rice Bowl

July 14, 2011 at 1:03 pm (B_minus (2.5 stars), Dark leafy greens, Grains, Japanese, Other)

I had a delicious smoothie at Cafe Gratitude in Berkeley right before I moved to Germany.   I never got a chance to try their food though, so when I saw this recipe for a sushi rice bowl based on Cafe Gratitude’s “I Am Accepting” I decided to give it a try.  The recipe says it serves 2-3, depending on how hungry you are. Read the rest of this entry »

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Six summer recipes from Fresh Food Fast

July 24, 2010 at 6:55 pm (B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), B_minus (2.5 stars), Japanese, Peter Berley, soup, Summer recipes, Tofu, unrated, Vegetable dishes)

I’m on a quest to try all the recipes in the summer section of Fresh Food Fast.  In the past few weeks I tried five new recipes:

  1. Pan-seared summer squash with garlic and mint
  2. White bean and arugula salad with lemon dill vinaigrette
  3. Chilled soba noodles in dashi with tofu and shredded romaine
  4. Warm green beans and new potatoes with sliced eggs and grilled onions
  5. Chilled tomato soup with shallots, cucumbers, and corn.
  6. Spicy corn frittata with tomatoes and scallions
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Sesame sweet potato saute with hijiki

December 27, 2006 at 1:28 pm (Japanese, Root vegetables, Starches, The Vegan Gourmet, unrated, Vegetable dishes)

This recipe is from the Vegan Gourmet 2nd edition.


  • 1/3 cup dried hijiki seaweed (about 1/3 ounce)
  • 1 tsp. raw sesame seeds
  • 1 1/4 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (about 2 large)
  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 2 tsp. dark sesame oil
  • pinch salt
  • pinch cayenne
  • 2 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. mirin
  • 2 green onions, minced
  1. Rinse the hijiki briefly under cold running water, then place it in 2 cups of warm water and soak for 30 minutes.  Lift the hijiki from the water, rinse it again, and drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds until lightly browned and aromatic.
  3. Peel the sweet potatoes, cut them crosswise into 1/4-inch slices, then cut the slices into 1/4-inch strips.  Heat the oils together over medium heat in a heavy bottomed skillet or wok with a tight-fitting lid.  When the oil is hot enough to sizzle a piece of sweet potato, add the sweet potato strips to the pan along with the salt and cayenne, and stir.  Saute, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.  Add the hijiki and continue to saute, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the soy sauce and mirnin with 1/4 cup water in a small bowl.  Add the mixture to the pan and immediately cover.  Reduce the heat to low and cook for 4 minutes.  Remove the lid, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring constantly, until almost all the liquid is gone and the sweet potates are fork-tender, about 2-3 minute.  Transfer to a warmed bowl and serve hot, sprinkled evenly with the green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

My notes:

I liked the combination of the sweet potatoes and hijiki, but my sweet potatoes were undercooked. I don’t know if I cut them too thick, or if they just need to steam longer.  Also, I would have liked more toasted sesame seeds.

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Carrot ginger dressing

May 20, 2006 at 8:27 am (B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), Cook's Illustrated, Japanese, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, Sauce/dressing)

This recipe is from the Angelica Kitchen cookbook. It’s quite similar to the carrot ginger dressing that you get in many Japanese restaurants.

1 Tbs. minced onion
2 tsp. minced ginger
1/4 tsp. mustard powder
1 cup grated carrots (This was two medium carrots for me)
2 tsp. soy sauce (or if you don’t have soy sauce you can use 1/4 tsp. kosher salt)
2 Tbs. apple juice or cider (I used 1.5 Tbs. water and 1/2 Tbs. Cascadian farms apple juice concentrate, which is way better than most frozen concentrates)
4 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
6 Tbs. olive oil (I used 4)
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil

Put all ingredients in the blender and blend! (I just put in a tall beaker and used my stick blender for less mess).

I thought this tasted pretty close to the Japanese dressing, maybe a little more watery (although that’s my own fault for reducing the oil). But I would do it again since even with less oil it stil had a nice consistency, not *too* watery.

It was supposed to make 2 cups, but for me it made more like 1.25 cups I think, maybe since I cut down on the oil? Even so, each Tbs. has only 31 calories by my calculation. If you use the original amount of oil it will have 10 more calories per Tablespoon.

This dressing was marvelous on sliced cooled beets. It was also very tasty on steamed broccoli. I didn’t like it on grain croquettes, however, since the flavor overpowered the flavor of the croquettes.

Rating: B+
Derek: A-

I decided to try another variation of this recipe from the Cook’s Illustrated Best Light Recipe cookbook. The major difference between this recipe and the one above is it has fewer carrots, uses sugar instead of apple cider, rice vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar, has more sesame oil, way more sodium, and adds water to bulk it up.

  • 1 Tbs. minced shallot or red onion
  • 2.25 tsp. grated fresh ginger (I grated a little extra so just threw it in)
  • 1.5 carrots, peeled and shredded (I left mine unpeeled, and grated it on the large holes of a box grater)
  • 3 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce (not sure if mine was low sodium)
  • 3/4 tsp. sugar
  • 4.5 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 9 Tbs. water
  • 6 Tbs. peanut or vegetable oil
  • 2.25 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 3/4 tsp. salt (I used 3/8 tsp.)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper (I gave a few whirs of my pepper grinder)

Shake all of the ingredients together in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. The dressing can be refrigerated for up to 7 days; bring to room temperature, then shake vigorously to recombine before using. Makes about 1.5 cups, and has about 40 calories per Tbs. serving.

My Notes:

I made a big salad for two and added 3 Tbs. of the dressing. I wasn’t very happy with it. I found it a bit greasy, and very bland. I could barely taste the ginger or carrots, and it was nearly vinegar-y enough for me. I don’t really understand this, since the recipe above is quite similar and I like it much more? Also, this made a huge amount of dressing. I think I might only make 1/3 of the recipe in the future.

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Japanese Country Power Breakfast (Miso Soup)

March 29, 2006 at 6:17 am (breakfast, B_minus (2.5 stars), Cruciferous rich, Japanese, Miso, Quick weeknight recipe, soup, Tofu, Vegetable dishes)

The book “Japanese Women Don’t Get Old–Or Fat Either” recommends eating miso soup for breakfast, or what the author calls “Japanese Country Power Breakfast.” I don’t really follow her recipe but I love the idea. It’s very filling, tasty, and low-calorie. It’s also a great way to use up small amounts of leftover vegetables. I try to eat this “power breakfast” at least once a week for breakfast.

What I put in my miso soup (some subset depending on what I have):

  • Group 1. root vegetables or winter squash, whatever I have on hand: carrots, yams/sweet potatoes, winter squash, parsnips, rutabaga, turnips, potato. This is actually a great way to use up something like turnips that I don’t generally like that much. They’re pretty good in miso soup, though. Parsnips are quite sweet, which is a bit odd in the soup, but not unpleasant.
  • Group 2. mushrooms, zucchini, summer squash or other soft vegetables
  • Group 3. cabbage, shredded, or leafy greens sliced finely
  • Group 4. diced scallions and/or bean sprouts
  • Tofu, diced into squares
  • Brown rice, pre-cooked or other leftover whole grains, about 2 Tablespoons per person
  • Fried (free-range) egg, seasoned with salt and pepper, cut into strands (about 1/2 – 1 egg per person)
  • Miso. I prefer red miso. (some info on miso varieties)


  1. If you’re adding an egg, beat it in a bowl with a little bit of salt and pepper. Heat a small skillet (I use my 7 1/2 inch All Clad Stainless fry pan) over high heat, spray with oil, and add the egg. Lift the corners and tilt the pan to let the uncooked bits get cooked. When it’s cooked remove it from the heat. It’s okay to leave it in the pan though.,
  2. Put some water on to boil. For one person use a 2 quart pot and 3 cups of water? Maybe a little less?
  3. Prepare your vegetables from group 1. Peel or seed if needed and dice finely. Add them to the water before anything else to start to soften. When the water comes to a boil turn it down so it’s only boiling lightly. Cook for about 3? minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare any vegetables from group 2. Add them to the boiling water. Cook for about 2? minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare any vegetables from group 3, and dice your tofu and get out your brown rice. Add them to the boiling water, and cook for about 2? minutes.
  6. Off the heat, but it’s okay to leave the pan on the burner, even if you have an electric stove. Add your miso. I think for 3 cups of water you need about 1.5 Tbs. of miso (I need to check this). I’m usually lazy, and just mix the miso directly into the soup. Stir it well because if you don’t you could get a lump of miso, which is incredibly salty and so pretty unpleasant. Alternatively, use a small sieve, and push the miso through the sieve into the soup, to avoid any lumps.
  7. Add scallions or bean sprouts and your fried egg if desired. I like to cut my fried egg into strands using scissors.

My Notes:

I’d recommend not trying to put too many different ingredients in your miso soup. I’d choose probably three different vegetables only.

You’ll need an extra-large soup bowl for this breakfast. A little cereal bowl just won’t cut it. This breakfast is extremely healthy but high in sodium from the miso, so go light on sodium for the rest of the day.

I finished my miso and bought a new container and it tasted so good, much better than before. It could be I was just hungrier, but I was wondering if miso loses flavor with age? How long does miso last in the fridge? Anyone know?

The author of the above book makes her miso soup with dashi (a broth made from kombu and fish flakes) but I don’t eat fish and it’s easier to just use water, plus I’m not a big fan of the fishy flavor. Maybe that’s why I liked today’s soup better–no kombu?

I just noticed I don’t have broccoli or cauliflower on my list. Have I never put them in miso soup?

Clearly this recipe needs work, as I don’t have amounts for the vegetables and even the amounts I do have are total guesses. I’ll try to pay more attention next time I make it.

Rating: B
Derek: B (much to his surprise, he was quite skeptical when I said I was making miso soup for breakfast)

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