Miso soup for breakfast? Yes, please!
When I was living and working in Japan (1998-2000), one of the things that was a bit of a surprise to me was Japanese breakfasts.
Traditional Japanese breakfasts often include rice, soup, fish, or egg and natto — but not limited to those breakfast items. When I had training at my school’s headquarters, we stayed at a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn). I remember my breakfast being steamed rice, miso soup, fish, a banana and a cup of tea. I also remember feeling that for me, 5am was too early to eat a meal like that. I could eat that for lunch or supper, but for breakfast, yogurt and a bowl of cereal were all I could do at the time.
When I was in Japan, many of my Japanese students and friends told me that the younger generation eat a “Western” breafkast (like bread or cereal for breakfast), though some still enjoy natto, raw egg and rice.
As my months in Japan flew by, I became accustomed to having miso soup at all meals. To this day, it is one of my go-to soups. Hubby and Little One love miso soup too, and often request it. In fact, they can’t get enough miso soup, it seems!
Luckily, miso soup is so quick and easy to make. The recipe I am sharing is my family’s favourite miso soup recipe. Simple and easy. I’m not sure if Hubby is a fan of bonito flakes, so I don’t include them. My Japanese friends may comment on the missing dashi, but it’s hard to find kombu on Manitoulin Island.
There are many variations when it comes to miso soup recipes. Some include tofu and enoki or shiitake mushrooms, and some do not. You can add dashi or bonito flakes to make the broth, but on Manitoulin Island, those ingredients are hard to come by. I usually get my miso paste when I’m in Espanola, Sudbury or Toronto.
- 4 cups water
- ⅓ cup firm tofu, cubed
- 4 tbsp white miso paste
- ½ cup green onion, chopped + some reserved green onion to garnish
- 3 oz of enoki mushrooms, trimmed
- In a medium pot, add water and bring to low simmer.
- In a small bowl, add miso paste and mix in a bit of hot water and whisk well. I usually use a chopstick to do this.
- Add the miso and hot water mixture into the pot of hot water and stir to ensure there are no miso paste clumps.
- Add tofu cubes, enoki mushrooms and green onion. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Serve in soup bowls , garnish with extra chopped green onions and enjoy!
Now, my seven-year old sometimes asks me for miso soup first thing in the morning. She usually has steel-cut oats or sometimes cereal in the morning, but every now and then she’ll ask for miso soup. It makes me smile because though some may think it’s odd, I think it’s kind of cool!
Just to illustrate how different breakfasts are around the world, and to teach my child a bit about cultural sensitivity, we checked out these 22 breakfasts from across the world. I also reminded her that breakfasts in each country may vary. For example, we don’t eat steel-cut oats for breakfast in our home every day. Sometimes we have fruit and yogurt and sometimes we have waffles with maple syrup from our farm. On weekends we have brunch with a Spanish frittata or sometimes bacon and eggs. The message is that breakfasts vary, regardless of where one lives. And, if Little One wants to have miso soup for breakfast, that’s fine by me!