Updated On: Feb 17 2011 05:11:11 AM CST
A culinary mainstay in Japan, miso is made with fermented soybeans mashed into a paste the consistency of peanut butter. It has a wonderful salty depth that adds texture and flavor to light, delicate vegetable soups.
6 cups vegetable stock
¼ cup brown miso
Three ½-inch slices fresh ginger
18 snow peas, stems and strings removed
4 large white mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 carrot, coarsely shredded
2 green onions (both white and green parts), finely chopped
¼ red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dark (Asian) sesame oil, optional
Pinch of red pepper flakes, or to taste, optional
6 ounces extra-firm tofu (at room temperature), cut into ½-inch cubes
Garnish: sprigs of fresh cilantro
Whisk together the vegetable stock and miso in a Dutch oven; add the ginger. Bring to a boil over high heat; cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the snow peas, mushrooms, carrot, green onions, and bell pepper.
Reduce the heat; cover and simmer until the vegetables are just tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the ginger and discard. Stir in the sesame oil and red pepper flakes (if using).
For each serving, ladle soup over the tofu cubes in a deep soup bowl.
Prepare this soup without the tofu; refrigerate in a covered container for up to 3 days. Reheat and assemble the servings with tofu.
Paulette Mitchell, a culinary instructor, television personality, spokesperson, freelance food writer, and the award-winning author of 13 cookbooks, is known internationally for her quick-to-prepare recipes with gourmet flair. Paulette's most recently published cookbook is "The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh." She is also the author of "A Beautiful Bowl of Soup" and "The Spirited Vegetarian," which was voted "Best Book in the World on Cooking with Wine" at the 2005 Gourmand World Media Awards. Paulette says that international travel is her favorite source of culinary inspiration.
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