Shiro Miso Soup

A guest recipe by Andrew Weil, MD

This simple preparation is Japanese comfort food, good for everything from a cold to fatigue to an overworked digestive system. Miso is a traditional fermented food, made for centuries in Japan, with myriad health benefits.  To avoid damaging the beneficial microorganisms it contains, never cook it.  Shiro (white) miso is made from salted barley, rice, and soybeans inoculated with a fungus (Aspergillus oryzae) cultivated on rice and also used to make saké and soy sauce.  The flavor of shiro miso is milder and sweeter than darker types made with more soybeans.  All miso is salty and needs to be diluted with water or other ingredients until the salt level is right for you. This quick and easy preparation is one of my favorite soups.

2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled, sliced into thin half moons
Three ¼-inch thick slices un-peeled ginger root
4 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons shiro (white) miso, more to taste
2 scallions, trimmed, white and light green parts thinly sliced (garnish)

Heat oils in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and ginger and cook, stirring frequently until onion is translucent. Add the broth and bring to boil, then reduce heat. Simmer covered until carrot is barely tender about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and discard the ginger.

Put about ½ tablespoon of miso in each bowl, then ladle about ½ cup of broth. Stir to dissolve the miso. Add another ½ cup broth to each bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more miso or a bit of salt, if needed.

Garnish with scallions and serve.

Reprinted with permission from Andrew Weil, MD, Fast Food, Good Food: More Than 150 Quick and Easy Ways to Put Healthy, Delicious Food on the Table. Copyright © 2015 by Andrew Weil, Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group. New York, NY.