Udon Miso Soup.
Photo: Henri Hollis
Photo: Henri Hollis

5:30 Challenge: Miso soup turns into a main dish in this recipe

Umami-rich, wholesome and warming, miso soup is a welcome panacea to the doldrums of late winter.

It’s also an easy dish to make using the 5:30 Challenge parameters. The only real trick is to streamline the broth and add a little something to turn it into a full meal.

Traditionally, miso soup is made with dashi, a simple broth of kombu seaweed and dried bonito (tuna) flakes, which is the strained and combined with a second type of seaweed, wakame, which has been rehydrated separately in water, along with tender tofu cubes and, of course, miso.

Instead of worrying about multiple seaweeds and bonito flakes, doctor up store-bought vegetable broth, and rehydrate the wakame (it’s a must, so do your best to find it at an Asian grocery store), all at the same time. A couple of boxes of broth and a quarter cup of seaweed only need to come to a boil to merge into one oceanic broth.

A nontraditional addition to this particular recipe is udon noodles, which bulk up the appetizer into a light, yet filling, dinner. Frozen udon is surprisingly easy to find at Kroger as well as Asian grocers, and it can be added directly from the freezer into the hot broth for a mere minute or two of cook time.

Silken tofu, likewise, needs little time to soak up the broth’s flavor and to heat through; it’ll do so in the minute it takes to add the miso itself.

This last step, by the way, is approached in various ways depending on the recipe. Miso tends to clump up, and you’re not going to want to go to town with your whisk in a pot full of delicate tofu and noodles. Some recipes instruct to delicately submerge a strainer into the soup and whisk the miso in the middle, but it’s easier just to scoop out some of that hot broth and whisk it into the miso in a separate bowl. Add that runny mixture back to the soup and it’ll incorporate without any struggle.


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