Typical Japanese meals always consist of at least a cup of soup, and the most famous of them is a traditional soup known as miso soup. During the Edo period when Christian Japanese refugees came to Philippines, they brought this soup along with them, which was later attached to Philippine cuisine. It is a type of soup which is differentiated by mere an addition of tamarind which tastes sour than the original recipe of Japanese miso soup.
Miso soup mainly consists of a stock known as dashi and a miso paste, a paste of fermented soya beans. Many other ingredients are also added to it, depending upon the seasonal recipes and personal tastes. Where dashi adds up with the basic taste of ingredients, on the same hand, the paste defines the flavor and character of the soup.
The basic preparation of stock consists of dried baby sardines or kelp within the shavings of dried, smoked skipjack tuna. A kelp or vegetarian dashi is most preferably used. The stock might consist of vegetables like carrot, radish, potato. Depending upon the personal taste, stocks like chicken stock and western style fish stock with dashi are also used as bases for preparation of this soup.
Miso pastes are mostly characterized into darker color such as kuromiso (black), akamiso (red), or shiromiso (white) with salty taste. There are many variations in this theme of color and flavor depending upon the season, like white miso for use with miso vegetables and regional such as Sendai Miso using basic miso ingredients.
The seasonal availability of the ingredients is well reflected in this Japanese soup maintaining its color amalgamation with touch. Two different ingredients are preferably added to make the soup's flavor rich―Negi and tofu. These highly flavored ingredients are mixed with lightly flavored ingredients to maintain the flow of the taste and combination.
The best example of combination is potatoes with the seaweed. All different ingredients are added so as to feel the distinctive contribution of their tastes that put in to the soup. Ingredients range from mushrooms to potatoes, from seaweed to onions, and from fish to grated Daikon.
Depending on the chef and making style, the soup can be prepared in several ways. Dashi is usually made of vegetables like mushrooms, Daikon, spinach, radish, and potatoes, wherein tofu and fish are also added. The miso is suspended separately in some dashi stock removed from cooked mix, kept relatively cool to keep the paste from cooking, which alters the flavor. The stock is removed from heat, as soon as the vegetables are cooked, where miso suspension is mixed into the soup. Some uncooked ingredient is added to this and the dish is ready.
The basic steps that are followed for preparation of the miso soup includes making of dashi soup stock till it is boiled, cooking of hard ingredients till they soften, mixing of the paste and dashi soup in a bowl, and stirring it gently. Adding up of soft ingredients like tofu and green vegetables and cooking them for a short span of time is done before the soup starts boiling.
It is always suggested to have your own choice of ingredients before you ask for the soup as the flavor of the soup varies depending on miso, soup stock, and ingredients.
Nowadays, instant soup is also available in ready packets, which generally contains dry wakame seaweed and tofu that reconstitute quickly when added to hot boiled water.
Miso soup and white rice, a traditional central dish of Japanese, make up their breakfast and most of them have the soup at least once in a day. This soup has been a favorite of all the times and is being ruling over the hearts of people over the centuries. It is usually served in a bowl called lacquer bowl and consumed directly from it. The solid ingredients are to be eaten with the help of chopsticks.