The number 1 health food you must have in your fridge

Fast food (that’s healthy) has actually been around since before fridges were invented.

miso soupThose folks in the Far East know a thing or two about health, longevity and happiness. And legend has it that miso was given by the gods to bestow all three.

Traditional oriental medicine has valued miso as a supreme medicine for the prevention and relief of disease. Modern-day studies confer and show those who eat miso soup daily have lower rates of heart disease and cancer.

So what’s healthy about it?

A cultured food, miso is packed with live enzymes that aid digestion. It’s also rich in nutrients such as B vitamins, essential amino acids and essential oils.

There are different types of miso ranging from dark (stronger & saltier) to light varieties (sweeter).

Made from fermented soybeans, barley or brown rice and sea salt, miso is traditionally aged over several months to years. Be sure to purchase organic unpasteurised miso, the nonorganic varieties contain chemicals that you don’t want in your food.

How do I use it?

Mugi miso, made from fermented barley, is a good all round miso. I use it to enrich soups, dressings and sauces. Austrian soup-lover stirs a teaspoon into a cup of hot water for his soup-on-the-run fix.

It’s important not to boil miso due to the live microorganisms. Simmer your soup and add the miso paste mixed with broth at the end of cooking.

Miso soup can be a meal in itself and this recipe combines my favourite flavours – think miso & potato; ginger & spring onions.

All ingredients are optional. Your soup can be as simple as miso & hot water.

Ingredients

4 cups of water

2 potatoes, bite-sized cubes

1 onion, diced

1/2 cup celery, sliced

1/2 cup carrot, sliced into half moons

1/2 cup cauliflower, chopped

1 Tbl dried wakame sliced finely (use scissors)

1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, soaked (30 mins), rinsed & sliced

1 Tbl grated fresh ginger

Sliced spring onion to garnish

Method

1. Soak shiitake mushrooms separately for 30 mins.

2. Put water in a pot and add wakame, potato, cauli, carrot, celery & water.

3. Rinse shiitakes, slice and add to pot.

4. Boil until potato is cooked. Turn off the heat.

5. Ladle about 1/4 cup of broth from pot into a bowl. Mix in 1-1.5 Tbl miso paste. Stir well and return to pot. Add more miso as necessary – it should be neither bland nor salty.

6. Stir in a tablespoon of grated ginger and garnish with spring onions.

Variations: Try with 1/4 cup quinoa,  butternut pumpkin, cubed tofu, other sea vegetables, button mushrooms, brown rice, buckwheat noodles, broccoli, zucchini … you get the picture.

If you have a favourite miso soup combo feel free to share in the comments below. I’d love to hear it!

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