Miso: A Powerful Last Minute Ingredient for Soup

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Earlier this week, Anjali offered us some sound advice to add an acid (lemon juice, vinegar) to soup at the end of cooking to help perk it up. There’s another ingredient that also helps boost the flavor of soup, but this one adds a deeper, more savory component. Do you know what it is?

Yes, miso! Adding a spoonful or two of miso as part of your final seasoning is an excellent way to introduce a rich savory flavor to soup, especially if it’s vegetarian/vegan. Like many fermented foods, miso is high in the glutamate proteins better know as umami or ‘the fifth taste’ which add a ‘meaty’ or delicious savoriness to dishes.

Be sure to add the miso before you add the salt, however, as miso is quite salty on its own. Also important is to add the miso after your soup is pretty much done cooking. Miso should never be boiled, as that will kill some of the nuances of its flavor as well as much of its nutritional value. A few minutes at a very gentle simmer are fine and will release some of the flavor.

For lighter, brothy soups, use white miso. For darker, more robust soups, use red miso. Also, for easier blending, put a spoonful of miso in a smaller bowl, and whisk in a ladleful of hot soup until smoothly blended. Then whisk this dissolved miso paste back into the full pot.

Do you have any soup recipes with miso that you particularly like?

(Image: Dana Velden)