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Japanese Miso Soup
with Wakame Seaweed and Tofu

(Wakame to tofu no miso shiru)

You'll have to find a package of dried wakame to make this, but it's worth the search. This vegetable seaweed is both delicate and meaty...and a little goes a long way. The first time I made it, I doubted the ingredients--thought the "real" plant must have broken up in the package. Nope. A little water on a little piece gets REAL big. This is light but flavorful, a delicate combination of sea and land--whets your appetite. Serve hot (preferably in lidded bowls) as a course (or for breakfast with rice and pickles) to 4 people.

  • 8-inch piece of wakame seaweed (zero calories and full of minerals)
  • 8 ounces tofu
  • 4 cups dashi (can be found in granule form)
  • 3 Tablespoons red (aka) miso
Soak the wakame in water for 15 minutes; rinse and drain; cut into 1-inch pieces. Cut the tofu into small, bite-sized cubes. Bring the dashi to a boil,then reduce to a simmer; add the wakame and tofu and simmer for 1 minute.

Dip out some of the hot dashi to whisk with the miso, then strain it back into the soup...and remove from the heat before it comes to a boil.

Ladle the soup evenly into the bowls (ideally hot: from the oven if china; from hot water if laquer) and serve immediately. Stir with chopsticks to eat, as the miso separates easily from the broth.