Miso Soup for What Ails You

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

My mom was a great cook who made excellent soups and stews. But when I was sick, she always heated up a can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup and brought it to my sickbed on a tray, with buttered toast.

I’ve been fighting a cold, and I’ve taken to bed recently. Steve has been pampering me, bringing me breakfast in bed and cooking all the meals.

But yesterday, what I really wanted was soup. I no longer crave canned chicken noodle soup, but I got up and made myself some miso soup; it has some of the same comfort food magic of my childhood, and it takes not much more time and effort than opening and heating a can.

I call it, “I am Sick Miso Soup,” as an excuse, because it’s made in a lazy way—using canned chicken broth instead of making a traditional dashi stock, and cooking the somen in the broth, instead of cooking the noodles separately and pouring the soup over it. This is why I use only a small amount of somen—otherwise the broth could get thick and starchy.

I threw in a few snow pea pods that I happened to have on hand. But any quick-cooking vegetable, thinly sliced, can be added to bulk up the broth.

I am Sick Miso Soup

1 can (14.5 ounces) less-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon white miso
1 teaspoon mirin (Japanese sweet cooking sake), optional
½ ounce somen noodles
¾ cup tofu cubes (cut in ¼-inch dice)
Optional vegetables: snow peas, bean sprouts, or thinly sliced bok choy, napa cabbage, mushrooms, zucchini, or green onion

In a medium pot combine chicken broth, miso and mirin, if using; whisk to dissolve miso. Bring the soup to a boil on medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer. Gather the somen noodles in a bunch and break the bunch in half; add to the soup and simmer about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until noodles are cooked through. (Test by tasting—the noodle should not taste starchy and raw; if you bite into a noodle, the bit ends should look cooked through.) Add tofu cubes and any vegetables in the last minute of simmering. If you use green onion, add it just before serving, to maintain color.

Makes 1 serving.

Notes:

  • Somen comes in bundles. Just release a small amount of noodles—when held together, the diameter on your noodle bunch should be about ¼ inches.
  • Mirin adds a light touch of sweetness to the broth and a little flavor complexity, but the miso itself is flavorful, so if you don’t have mirin, you can skip it.

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Posted: Jan 22nd by Sandy_Hu