Hearty stuff

I worked from home again today and made a very hearty miso soup for lunch. There’s nothing much different from the usual ingredients here, but what did change was the way I cut the vegetables. There are so many ways to create variety here depending on both the shape and the size of the vegetables. Today it was all about hunks. Hunks take longer to cook, but give the soup a very hearty feel.

Today’s soup also had satsumaimo or Japanese sweet potatoes in it. Rumor has it that Trader Joe’s is now selling these under the name of Murasaki Sweet Potatoes. Murasaski means purple in Japanese and these potatoes are purple on the outside and very pale yellow in the inside.  I cannot tell you how much better these taste than American sweet potatoes or yams. I get mine at Whole Foods. They are well worth trying!

Today’s miso soup: Chunky carrots, daikon, satsumaimo, and some onions for flavor. I almost never put sweet potato in miso soup, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that they gave the soup a slightly sweet flavor. I’ll definitely be using them frequently from here on out.

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Soup full of Goo

It’s not as bad as it sounds. Goo, or more properly “gu”  具 just means ingredients. And while the type of miso that you use to create the soup is important, it is the gu that most people are thinking of. People in America are used to the gu that you find in soup at Japanese restaurants which seems to be tiny tofu pieces and seaweed. Probably much of this is reconstituted from dried ingredients. I find it to be salty. So sometimes people are surprised about the ingredients that I use. Miso soup can really have anything in it. And a hearty miso soup often hits the spot on a cool day. With autumn vegetables at their peak, my soup has more gu than soup. To the point of: am I drinking or eating my soup?

Today’s miso soup: atsuage (thick deep-fried tofu), carrots, daikon, hakusai (Chinese cabbage)

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Miso Soup for Lunch

I was happy to be working from home today as the weather got cooler and I craved soup for lunch. Miso soup is almost an instant soup because if you choose your ingredients thoughtfully, you can cook it from scratch in just five minutes. So today’s soup was a quick one and I left the rest on the stove for dinner.

It’s time to go back to my ultimate source for miso soup and check out the suggestions for the autumn. Right away I saw one called “milk miso soup.” I feel like I’d probably never make a miso soup with milk. I have never had such a soup while in Japan and I wonder if it is really a thing. Maybe some time I will feel adventurous enough to try it, but if I do I’m sure I’ll use soy milk. Falls into the category of “not today, thank you.”

Today’s miso soup: A quick-cooking soup with thin slices of daikon, hakusai (Chinese cabbage), scallions and tofu. I put the daikon and the white parts of the cabbage into the pot cook for a few minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients. With greens it is important to divide the tougher parts from the more delicate parts so that delicate parts are not overcooked. Even with the daikon, it cooked very quickly and made for a filling lunch at my desk.

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