Miso Soup as Preventative Medicine

March 22, 2020 • Nancy Wolfson-Moche
I don’t usually eat miso soup for breakfast. But these are extraordinary times that call for extraordinary changes in our diet and our lifestyle.  Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”  Miso soup is made from two of the most powerful healing foods: miso, a fermented soy product, and wakame, a sea vegetable.  Science indicates that miso, a powerful antioxidant, can reduce the risk of degenerative disease and protect cell membranes, both important in fighting viruses.  Wakame cleanses the body of toxins. While these foods won’t cure covid 19 or any virus, they can strengthen and alkalize the body so it is better set to prevent and confront them. Prepare this soup slowly, with care and love, and sip it.  Slowly. Complete the meal with a whole grain and a vegetable dish.
INgredients to serve 4
  • 4 cups spring or filtered water
  • 4-inch or 4 1″ pieces of wakame, soaked in water until tender (about 3 minutes) and then sliced into 4-5 pieces
  • Carrot (here, I used a yellow)
  • Leek
  • Piece of ginger the size of a quarter
  • 2-3 Napa cabbage leaves
  • Cube of tofu, about 3×3″
  • 1 teaspoon traditional red miso
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white chickpea miso
  • 2-3 scallions (to taste)
  • Peel the ginger and slice it into 4 tiny matchsticks.
  • Wash the carrot and remove any small hairs on the skin. Cut the carrot into 1/8-inch-thick oval shapes. Cut the ovals into thirds and set aside.
  • Wash the leek well, careful to remove any dirt from the layers deep inside. Slice the leek in half, lengthwise, and then cut thin half moons.
  • Wash the Napa cabbage and then ribbon-cut (or shred) the leaves.
  • Cut the tofu into 9 small cubes (or larger ones if desired).
  • Place water and wakame in medium-sized heavy pot.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 3 minutes.
  • Add the vegetables, one at a time, in this order: ginger, carrot, leek, and Napa cabbage. As you add each vegetable, allow it to integrate into the soup for about one minute before you add the next ingredient.
  • Simmer the soup, covered, over low heat 3 to 4 minutes, until just tender.
  • Add the tofu.
  • Remove a small bit (about ¾ cup) of hot broth, add the precisely measured traditional red miso and stir well until the miso is dissolved. Stir miso mixture into the soup. 
  • Remove another ¾ cup of the broth and add the chickpea miso in the same manner, stirring it well until dissolved. 
  • Add the chickpea miso mixture into the soup and simmer, uncovered, without boiling, 4-6 minutes more. (Note: do not boil miso. The beneficial enzymes present need warmth to activate, but boiling them will destroy their benefits.)
  • Bias-cut the scallions into thin ovals.
  • Ladle the soup into individual bowls, garnish each with the finely chopped scallions and serve hot. Eat slowly.

Icing on the Cake: Testimonials

I’m very impressed by all the elements you are able to pack into the lesson without it seeming at all overwhelming: the review, the actual cooking skills, the creativity of coming up with their own dishes, the chance to present their creations, the opportunity to learn about and share thoughts on something else (in last week’s case, the feelings represented in the book), the execution of their  jobs, the responsibility for one’s station/implements and the overall following of directions…..all without losing the fun quotient. No wonder the kids love coming!  You’ve really created something special so kudos to you!

- T.