Miso Soup

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Cooking One on One

Cooking One on One

By John Ash

Published 2004

  • About

Miso is to Japanese cooking what olive oil is to Mediterranean cooking. It appears everywhere, a universal seasoning. Miso is highly nutritious and comes in a wide range of flavors and colors. Miso Soup is quick and easy to prepare and a perfect complement to any fresh seasonal ingredient. Here I’ve used white miso, which is traditional, but you could also use red, which has a deeper, saltier flavor. I also sometimes blend the two. See the Soy Foods lesson for more recipes using miso and for more information about buying and draining tofu.


  • 3 to 4 tablespoons white (“shiro”) miso
  • 4 cups Dashi
  • 2 ounces (about 6 medium) fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • ½ cake of drained firm tofu (silken or regular) (5 to 6 ounces), diced
  • cup loosely packed sliced green onions (white and green parts) or watercress (leaves and tender stems)


In a small bowl, soften the miso by stirring in about cup of warm dashi. The mixture should be very smooth, with the consistency of a thick sauce. In a deep saucepan, gradually stir the softened miso into the remaining dashi and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Do not boil. The Japanese believe that it will lose flavor.

Add the mushrooms and tofu and simmer gently until the mushrooms are just tender. Again, be careful not to boil the soup. Add the onions or watercress, ladle into warm bowls, and serve. Place a drop or two of hot pepper sesame oil in each bowl, if desired.


If you like with hot pepper sesame oil