Miso soup is one of the quintessential Japanese comfort foods, and is making its way into the mainstream elsewhere because it’s both delicious and incredibly nutritious. Most miso soup recipes call for a collection of hard-to-find ingredients like kombu and dashi but this version delivers all the flavour with more common elements. Look for miso at your local farmers’ market or health food store; you can store it, tightly sealed, in the refrigerator for up to 18 months.
Miso paste is made from fermented soybeans and is packed with antioxidants, beneficial fatty acids and isoflavones that provide protection against some forms of cancer, including breast cancer. As if these weren’t enough reasons to embrace miso, how about the fact that it’s an excellent concentrated protein source as well? The one trick with miso is that it should never be brought to a boil, as this will destroy most of its nutrients, so that’s why in this recipe I recommend adding it after the soup has been taken off the heat. Similarly, fish sauce should only be added at the very end – adding it to boiling liquid creates a cloud of fishy steam that can smell unpleasant and also render the fish sauce pretty bland in your dish. Be sure to taste the soup just before serving and adjust seasonings to suit your preference. While the Japanese tend to eat this daily as a breakfast food, I love it for a fast, healthy lunch option. This recipe could easily be multiplied to feed more people.
Warm the broth, chili-garlic sauce and sesame in a small saucepan over medium heat until it is just coming to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Whisk to blend well.
Add the nori, tofu and greens and wait 3 minutes until greens have softened.
While waiting, put the miso paste in a small bowl. Ladle 1/2 cup of the broth from the pot into the bowl and whisk to blend well and dissolve the miso.
Remove the pot from the heat and add fish sauce and dissolved miso paste. Stir gently to combine then taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
Ladle into one deep bowl (not a broad soup ‘plates’), sprinkle with green onions and serve hot.