Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning used in sauces and soups. It is also used for pickling vegetables and meat. It is mainly obtained by fermenting soybeans, rice, wheat, or barley. More commonly, it is made from fermented soybeans, though barley, rice, and wheat can also be used at times.
To facilitate the fermentation process, the fungus, Aspergillus oryzae is added to soybeans and the other ingredients. Once the process of fermentation is over, the ingredients are ground to produce a thick paste of buttery texture, which is termed as miso. This fermented product is the basic ingredient of miso soup, which is a very delicious traditional Japanese soup.
This nutrient-rich soup contains several essential vitamins and minerals, along with healthy fats (mono and polyunsaturated fats). It is low in saturated fats, but rich in proteins, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
One cup of miso soup can provide about 7.78 g carbohydrates, 6.02 g proteins, 3.36 g fats, 1.9 g dietary fiber, 367 mg potassium, and 998 mg sodium. Apart from these, this soup contains a significant amount of iron, calcium, zinc, copper, manganese, and vitamin C. One cup of miso soup can contain about 84 calories.
The following are some of the noteworthy benefits of this traditional Japanese soup:
- Being a fermented product, miso contains beneficial bacteria that can promote the health of the digestive system. It also contains dietary fiber, which can help improve digestion, and keep digestive ailments at bay.
- It contains the mineral zinc, which can support the functions of the immune system. Zinc is also required for faster wound healing.
- Copper and manganese found in miso are required for energy production. These minerals play a crucial role in protecting the body cells and tissues from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals.
- It is also rich in antioxidants, which can provide protection against the damaging effects of free radicals, and boost the immune system.
- Fermented soy products like miso can help lower the risk of breast cancer in women.
- It contains vitamin K that is required for blood clotting. This vitamin is important for preventing excessive bleeding from a cut or wound.
- Being a fermented soy product, it can help control the level of the hormone estrogen in women.
- Wakame seaweed, which is used to make this soup, can help lower blood pressure and the level of cholesterol in the body.
The Basic Recipe
Though this traditional Japanese soup can be prepared in different ways, the basic recipe is quite simple. Apart from miso, the main ingredients of this soup are, wakame seaweed, mushrooms, carrots, garlic, onion, potatoes, and tofu. To prepare the soup, you have to cook the vegetables and all hard ingredients by simmering them in ‘dashi’ soup stock.
First, boil some water in a saucepan, and add the powdered dashi and other ingredients into it, except for the miso paste and wakame seaweed. In the meantime, soak the wakame seaweed in water. Now, take some dashi soup stock from the mixture, and use it to dissolve the miso paste.
If you want to use tofu, then add it to the dashi mixture shortly before removing it from the heat. When the vegetables are cooked, add the wakame seaweed to the mixture and remove it from the heat. Now, you can pour the dissolved miso into the soup, and garnish it with parsley or spring onions.
To sum up, miso soup can be a really healthy addition to your diet. It can boost your health, besides increasing the ability of the immune system to fight diseases and infections. But this soup is high in sodium, and so, it should be consumed in moderation.