Miso Soup—a Recipe For Japan’s Everyday Soup Dish

Miso Soup
Matsusaka Ushi (beef) with Miso soup (Aka miso)

Today I will tell you all about Miso Soup so you can try making it at home. 

Miso soup is not only very easy to cook—it’s also healthy and tasty. Otherwise, we wouldn’t cook miso soup every day! 

That’s right, Miso Soup is an important breakfast staple in Japan! So, I’m going to explain all about Miso Soup to help you better understand why we start our day with this easy and refreshing meal.

The many types of Miso

Firstly, there are many many kinds of Miso in Japan, especially depending on the area.

There are three main types which are: Miso made with rice (kome-miso), wheat (mugi-miso), and soybeans (mame-miso).¥

1. Kome miso (miso made with rice)

Miso made with rice has three types of color and taste.

Red (Aka-miso):

  • Tastes sweet (ama-kuchi) and is used mainly in Tokyo and Tokushima Prefectures
  • Tasting extra salty (kara-kuchi), this miso is used especially in the Kanto, Tohoku, and Hokkaido regions

Light (Miso) has two types of taste

  • Tastes sweet (ama-kuchi) and is used in Shizuoka Prefecture and the Hokuriku and Kyushu regions
  • Tastes extra salty (kara-kuchi) and is used mainly in the Kanto Koshinetsu and Hokuriku regions, but also regularly across much of Japan

White (Shiro-miso): 

  • White miso is sweet (ama-kuchi) and is used by the Kinki (Kansai) and Chugoku regions and Kagawa Prefecture

2. Mugi-miso (miso made with wheat)

Miso made with wheat has two types of taste: sweet and extra salty.

Sweet (ama-kuchi) is used in the Kyushu, Shikoku, and Chugoku regions (all in southern Japan).

Extra salty (kara-kuchi) is made by the people of Kyushu, Shikoku, and Chugoku as well as the Kanto region, which is where Tokyo is located.

3. Mame-miso (miso made with soya beans)

Miso made with soya is used by Chukyo region located in central Japan, which includes Aichi Prefecture, Mie Prefecture and Gifu Prefecture.

What to put in your Miso Soup

Miso Soup

Next, I would like to introduce what types of ingredients go well with Miso Soup.

The types of ingredients differ depending on the home and individual tastes. Feel free to get creative!

There are many varieties of ingredients and no rules about them, so you can add anything you like. However, I will introduce ingredients which commonly go well with Miso Soup. 

The best, in my opinion, are potatoes, onions, eggs, tofu, deep-fried tofu (abura-age), leeks, Chinese cabbage, Japanese radish, satoimo (taro), carrots, gobo (cocklebur), pork, chicken, pumpkin, seaweed, mushrooms (shiitake, shimeji, nameko, maitake, bunashimeji, etc.), shellfish, and minced fish (tsumire). 

As you can see, just about anything goes well with Miso Soup. You can enjoy miso soup 365 days a year and never be bored!

How to cook Miso Soup

Shinshu Miso Factory in Nagano

Cooking Miso Soup is very easy. You just need miso and dashi. Dashi is a broth which adds more flavor to Miso Soup than any other ingredient.

In Japan, we use Niboshi (dried baby sardines), Kombu (dried kelp), and Katsuobushi (dried and smoked bonito fish) to make Dashi. You can also buy dashi-no-moto, a powdered stock. 

Once you gather the ingredients, you can make Miso Soup! The steps are simple:

1. Put a small portion of Dashi into water and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat to medium, and whisk in Miso paste.

3. Finally, add any other ingredients you wish (tofu, vegetables, seaweed, etc.) and simmer for a few minutes. 

4. Enjoy!

I love miso soup because it is tasty, healthy, and low-calorie

If you’re looking for recommendations, my personal favorite miso is kome-miso, aka miso (kara-kuchi), and shiro miso (ama-kuchi) mixed together. My favorite dashi is Katsuobushi-dashi. My favorite ingredients are tofu and eggplant/aubergine, tofu, and seaweed, Japanese radish, potato…and so on. I like to put in a lot of vegetables!

Nowadays, you can buy miso and dashi in almost all local supermarkets—even outside of Japan. Please try making miso soup for dinner with your favorite ingredients!

Want to try Miso in Japan? Let us know and we’ll add it to your trip! Contact us today for your free consultation. 

If you are interested in how miso is made, we offer a miso and soy sauce factory tour . This particular miso and soy sauce factory is dedicated to Japan’s Imperial family. You can experience making organic soy sauce and miso as well as tofu and Japanese pickles. Learn more about Japanese cuisine and culture during this unique opportunity!