Mar 3, 2015

Soup which you don't get in a restaurant ☆Kabocha and onion Miso soup recipe

Every Japanese restaurant has a typical Miso soup made with tofu and wakame (a kind of seaweed). Many times I find these soups disappointing. They often have no aroma and are over cooked with badly textured wakame. Some people may think this is a Miso soup. Yes, it is. But if you cook Miso soup properly at home, you realize how aromatic and tasty Miso soup really can be.

Miso is a traditional seasoning made from fermenting soybeans, salt and Koji fungus. Miso soup is a popular dish in Japan which provides warmth and nourishment, and which can easily be cooked at home. All what you need is Dashi soup (bonito stock), Miso and your favorite ingredients. Basically everything can be an ingredient--eggs, carrots, spinach, pork, salmon....  There are some common combinations--tofu and wakame, spinach and egg, pork, chinese cabbage and eddible burdock root, Kabocha and onion...etc.
I will introduce this Kabocha and onion combination recipe as it is a common winter Miso soup, and I have some left over Kabocha here in my kitchen.  This is a soup you don't find in Japanese restaurants in the USA.

Both Dashi soup powder and Miso can be found at Asian supermarkets, some big American supermarkets which carry international food, or Amazon. There are three major types of Miso sold in the states, Aka Miso (red Miso), Shiro Miso (white Miso) and Awase Miso (mixtures of different types of Miso). I recommend buying Awase as it is all-purpose.

Low sodium Miso from my home town. It's made from rice and barley.

Trivia: There is a great variety of taste and apperarance of Miso in the different regions of Japan. For example, in the western part of Japan where I grew up, we use Awase Miso containing barley.  You don't find this in the easten part of Japan, including around Tokyo. In Kyoto, Shiro Miso made from rice is most commonly used. Strangely enough, in my hometown, we use Shiro Miso on only one occation---meals served at a wake and funeral. Every time I have Shiro Miso soup at a restaurant or my friend's home, I feel a bit sad.

Kabocha and onion Miso soup.
Sweetness of Kabocha and onion make the soup mild.

Kabocha And Onion Miso Soup Recipe


  • 1 2/3 cup Dashi
  • 3.5oz Kabocha  without seeds
  • 1/4  Small size onion
  • 2" Long green onion (scallion)
  • 1 1/2 - 2tbsp of your favorite Miso

Serves 2

1.  Cut Kabocha 1/4" thick and slice onion into easy-to-eat sizes. Finely chop the green onions.
★Leave the green skin on Kabocha. It is delicious and contains carotene.

2. In a small pan, combine Kabocha, onion and Dashi.

3. Heat at medium low until vegetables are cooked. Reduce heat to low, and dissolve Miso.
★Put a small amount of soup in the ladle and dissolve Miso. Never add Miso directly into the pot.

4. Wait until the soup is just starting to boil. Add green onions and remove from heat.
★Never boil Miso because high heat kills the aroma and beneficial bacteria. 

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