Oh nooooos! Reading up on some of the Weekend Cooking posts I stumbled upon a new challenge Margot mentioned: Whip Up Something New! *SIGH* I just updated my Challenge Page & sidebar yesterday and now they’re not up-to-date any more. Behind again! Yeah well, I had to join, right?

Whip up something new! logo

Whip up something new! is a monthly challenge for the many of of us who promise ourselves that we’ll try new recipes and yet we end up cooking the same old things. Although it was inspired by organising those ripped/cut out recipes, if you don’t have such a pile of paper to sift through, feel free to make something from one of your cookbooks or from the hundreds of fabulous cooking blogs. The point is to try cooking new things!

As I try some new recipes each month (often even weekly) this really isn’t much of a dare to me. The hard part is blogging them! I’m hoping this challenge will help me do just that. Fits perfectly with the newly set blogging routine of 2×4 hours I decided upon; I might even need to make a monthly topic schedule! LOL

Anyway, as January’s Hello Japan! mission is to try Something New as well, I thought I’d share  the white miso soup recipe I tried yesterday.

Miraculous Miso Soup

Undeserving picture of white miso soup

I made this dish to bring along to a friend’s house, where we were going to watch Chef of South Polar, about a Japanese cook making marvellous meals for a small research team on Antarctica. It was just a small offering compared to the work she put in making us vegetarian sushi, which even turned out completely vegan. One of the maki rolls contained kanpyo: sweet pickled pumpkin which I had never had before and tasted wonderful! It’s on my grocery list ;) and I’m looking forward to making onigiri with it!

Cover The VegetarianTable: Japan (Victoria Wise)

But on to the White Miso Soup recipe I took from The Vegetarian Table: Japan cookbook by Victoria Wise (page 41). It is absolutely delicious! I don’t think I ever want to try another recipe ;) The picture above really doesn’t do it justice.

I had made some parboiled carrot flowers and small bundles of mustard cress for decoration — which unfortunately dropped straight to the bottom of the bowls… :( Well, lesson learnt ;)

Serves 4.

  • 1 tofu puff sachet (aburaage) cut in 8 thin slices; can be substituted by 115 gr / 4 oz soft tofu in cubes
  • 825 ml / 3.5 cups vegetable dashi (Japanese stock)
    Note: prefab dashi usually contains bonito, which is a type of fish. You can sometimes buy a vegan version in health stores or well-stocked Asian stores, but why not make it yourself? I’ve used the recipe from Victoria Wise’s cookbook, freezing portions for quick future use. I have no doubt Maki’s on-line recipe is quite as good. Since I’m now out of dashi stock I might just try it myself!
  • white part of 1 small leek, sliced into very thin rounds and well rinsed
  • 5-6 tbs white miso
  • 12 strands (about 4 cm / 1.5 inch each) of lemon zest ~ use organic!
  • personal addition (optional): thin slices of carrot (pre-cooked), any kind of cress or finely shredded cabbage


  1. Place the tofu slices in a colander and pour boiling water over them to rinse off the oil. Set aside.
  2. Optional: prepare other decorative ingredients.
  3. Put the dashi in a medium pot or microwave bowl and bring to a boil.
  4. Place the miso in a small bowl, add 125 ml (0.5 cup) of the warm dashi and whisk to smooth. Set aside.
  5. Add the tofu puff slices, leek and optional carrot to the dashi an simmer very gently for about 2 minutes until wilted.
  6. Stir in the miso, taking care not to let the liquid boil again.
  7. Ladle into soup bowls, dividing the ingredients equally.
  8. Garnish with lemon zest (and optional cress).
  9. Serve right away. Itadakimasu!

The easy part

This soup is really easy to make and it only takes a little time when you have all the ingredients at hand.

The hard part

The hardest part was cutting my slices of lemon zest, even though I have a special tool for it — called lemon zester ;) I guess I’ll need to practice! Since the soup is cloudy and ingredients sunk to the bottom, it also wasn’t easy to share them equally.

White miso

I’m submitting this post to January’s Hello Japan! because I haven’t used shiromiso before. At least not to my knowledge — although Mr Gnoe disputes that. There are three major types of this Japanese fermented bean paste: white (shiromiso), red (akamiso) and awasemiso; which is a blend of both.

For many years we’ve only had red miso (like I said: solely, as far as I can remember), which is much saltier. I’m now dying to try miso tamago with the more subtle flavoured shiromiso — the way it’s supposed to be made! Better do that before my ExtraVeganza pilot starts next week ;)

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