This Tomato Miso Soup is a wonderful soup. Quick to make, it is warm, nourishing, and quite delicious. Tomatoes add lycopene, the miso paste adds protein, and the mushrooms and kombu seaweed provide minerals... and iodine. This recipe is a great intro to using both mild tasting kombu and miso paste. Kombu is dried kelp. It is a staple of Japanese cooking and the base of the stock that makes many of their soups, dashi. If you enjoy sipping on miso soup at your local Japanese restaurant, then you’ve already eaten kombu. Miso paste is made from fermented soy. It comes in several different types (see Ann’s tips) and is a really useful protein addition if your diet is trending to vegetable heavy. Both kelp and miso easily found in health food stores, usually in the macrobiotic section, or at Asian markets.
In a stockpot bring the mushrooms, kombu, tomato paste, and water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and continue to cook for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Drop the tomatoes in the pot, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until their skin cracks. Drain and run cold water over them. Using fingers, slip off their skins. Then cut in half and squeeze out their seeds. Coarsely chop and add to the soup.
Remove the kombu and thinly slice. Return to the pot and cook another 10 to 15 minutes.
Right before serving, remove ¼ cup of stock water and pour into a small bowl. Whisk in the miso paste until smooth. Return to the soup and cook for 1 minute. Serve with sliced scallions.
Miso comes in many different shades, from golden yellow to almost black. As a rule of thumb, the darker the miso, the stronger the taste. This recipe calls for red miso (aka miso) which is in the middle of the range taste-wise, and a perfect foil for the acidity of the tomatoes.
Take care not to let the soup boil again once you’ve added the miso. Miso is full of probiotic enzymes that get destroyed by high heat. However if you are on a neutropenic diet, you may need to do just that, boil the miso for around 3 minutes to neutralize the enzymes. You’ll still get the flavor and protein.
Miso paste will keep almost indefinitely in the fridge. Store sealed in a Ziplock bag to stop it drying out.