I have listed 14 miso soup ingredient combinations which are my favourites. You can be very creative and come up with many different combinations.
In the post, Miso Soup Basics, I introduced three main types of Miso. They are shiro-miso (白味噌), aka-miso (赤味噌) and awase-miso (合わせ味噌).
The professional Japanese chefs might use a particular type of miso for certain combinations of ingredients. But for home cooking, especially if you use aware-miso which are the common miso available at Asian grocery stores and even supermarkets, any combination of ingredients would be fine, in my view.
Many of the miso soup ingredients are vegetables. There are so many combinations you can have, the possibilities are almost endless. But here are some of my favourite vegetable ingredients. Although most of them have only a coupe of ingredients, I often add aburaage (deep fried thin tofu), wakame (seaweed) or shallots to them.
- Tofu and wakame (seaweed) with shallots or aburaage (deep fried thin tofu)
- Potatoes and wakame (seaweed) and shallots
- Daikon (white radish) with aburaage (deep fried thin Tofu)
- Cabbage and carrots
- Shimeji mushrooms and mizuna
- Chinese cabbage and aburaage (deep fried thin tofu)
- Spinach and shiitake
- Bean sprouts and wakame (seaweed)
- Pumpkin and okura
- Shiitake and Tofu
- Beaten eggs and shallots
I did not include miso soup which contains meat or fish here. They need extra preparations and I thought I would rather write an individual recipe for each of them some time later.
As per the recipes in Miso Soup Basics, the fundamental process of making miso soup is quite simple. If the ingredients are delicate or do not require much cooking, you add them after the miso is mixed, otherwise cook the ingredients before adding the miso. In the list above, tofu, wakame and beaten eggs are the items which need to be cooked after the miso is added to the soup.
Serving bowls for miso soup are quite different from the ones for rice or Western style soups. Japanese miso soup bowls are called owan (お椀) and not made of ceramic. They are traditionally made of a wood finish with clear lacquer to show the wood grain or Japanese lacquer called urushi (漆). They also have some pictures or patters on it. But for day-to-day use, there are plastic versions of owan which are made to look like the wooden products.
The shape of the owan also varies a lot. Some have a lid, while others don’t. The most common design of an owan is the up-side-down dome shape. It holds just the right amount of soup and it is easy to stack when packed away. I used to have this kind of owan set but they all got damaged. Then my youngest daughter bought me a set of owan when we went to Japan some time ago. She chose the egg shaped owan with a lid. It is coated with redish brown Japanese lacquer and has very faint pattern on it. I really like this owan even if I might not use the lid often as the lid is usually used in more formal occasions.
Then my son bought a set of wooden owan which is much larger than the standard owan. The shape and the surface of the wood is so smooth that it is comforting to just hold it in your hands. We use this large owan when we serve miso soup with lots of ingredients so that we can eat it like Western style soup. Actually we serve Western style soups in this owan, too. Nagi posted her Creamy, Dreamy Cauliflower Soup in it on RecipeTin Eats.