Japan Life: Miso is the Perfect Food

Japan has the best food in the world. The commitment to quality, freshness, artfulness, and taste is unparalleled, not to mention, a good deal of Japanese dishes are also super healthy. One of my favorite is the most simple ever, and thanks to some grocery store help from a Japanese friend, I can buy the right ingredients to make perfect miso soup. (Ask any Japan expat who doesn’t speak the language… going to the grocery store is tricky!).


Tofu 豆腐

Tofu is made by curdling soymilk proteins into a sliceable form. Nutritionally, tofu is an awesome source of non-animal protein and calcium. I’m an 80/20 vegetarian, so it’s become a pretty important food source. There are several different kinds, but two of the most common are firm and soft. Firm uses the kanji for cotton (momen,木綿) and soft uses the kanji for silk (kinu 絹). You want silken tofu for miso.


Wakame わかめ

This dried sea vegi is SO healthy and it’s delicious. Rehydrating takes less than 10 minutes. Nutritionally, wakame has over 10x the calcium of milk, plus vitamin D which helps your body absorb calcium. It’s also contains vitamin A, C, K and B2, which helps your body use fat and carbs. And almost zero calories. So yum.


Negi (green onion) ねぎ

You know these… but did you know they’re loaded with Vitamins A and C? I didn’t either until I googled it just now. Crazy. I use a plane slicer to make them super thin.


Miso みそ

This was the one I needed serious help with. When you go to the store there are SO many varieties. For vegans there is miso without dashi (fish stock), low sodium, zero additive, organic.  I wanted a high quality miso with dashi. Here’s what Hiro suggested I buy.

It’s the easiest thing in the world to make.

4 cups of water

1/3 cup of miso paste

thinly sliced negi (I like a lot, but add as you like)

rehydrated wakame (same here)

cubed silken tofu (and here)

Heat the water to almost boiling (don’t boil it though it messes up the miso), add the miso. Once it’s fully incorporated add everything else.


Eat this for breakfast with brown rice and a hard boiled egg.  Or with avocado toast. Oh man. Sometimes I eat it for dinner the same way.

If you’re watching your salt, low sodium is probably the way to go, but for me, miso soup is the closest thing I’ve found to a perfect food. It’s easy, healthy, inexpensive, and satisfying.





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