My mother-in-law actually first came up with a version of this out of bare necessity. She was visiting for our wedding weekend, couldn’t find anything to cook in the house besides frozen corn and tofu, and voila! It has become a family favorite ever since.
Now, I’ll admit, this is not your “traditional” Japanese miso soup. Classic miso soup doesn’t have corn, isn’t quite as creamy, and well, has miso! But it’s the closest thing I think this soup resembles. And guess what, I think it tastes better and has more layers of flavor than regular miso soup – savory with just a hint of sweetness from the corn, and sooo silky smooth.
But keep in mind that this soup, like most Japanese dishes, is quite mild with very delicate flavors. Eat it with punchy Indian curry or a ketchup-laden hamburger and you’ll probably lose most of its subtle flavor. We like to eat it alongside sushi, stir-fry noodles, or fresh spring rolls. It also makes a great comfort food when someone in the family is sick and needs a bowl of warm soup that’s light, healthy, and gentle on the belly.
Our Favorite Secret Ingredient
Most of the ingredients in this recipe are pretty simple and straight forward. However, there is one in there that you may be scratching your head about.
What, you may be wondering, is “mushroom seasoning”?
For a while now, Al and I have been wondering when we should introduce you to our all-time favorite “secret sauce” – which in this case is actually a seasoning and not much of a secret since most of the Asian moms and aunties we know seem to use it (check out this humorous blogpost for proof). To put it simply, in our opinion, this is THE BEST Asian vegetarian/vegan seasoning out there.
In fact, this seasoning is often likened to MSG. Don’t worry, it doesn’t contain any processed MSG, but because mushrooms are one of the foods known to have umami (the fifth taste) that makes MSG so appealing, it has the ability to enhance flavors naturally in the same way. Whenever I want flavor beyond just saltiness, without the overwhelming taste of soy sauce (and without changing the food’s color which is important in miso soup), or am just thinking, “This dish needs something!,” this seasoning does the trick. I use it in stir-fry, soup, fried rice, noodles, pretty much anything Asian. We buy ours at the Asian market where we’ve found it pretty cheap. You can also buy it on Amazon at the link below, but it’s a bit more expensive.
- 4 c water
- 1 c frozen corn
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp powdered ginger
- ½ tsp mushroom seasoning
- 1 c water
- ¾ c frozen corn
- ½ brick firm silken tofu
- 1 c additional water (for cleaning out blender)
- ½ brick cubed firm silken tofu
- ½ sheet sushi nori (roasted seaweed) cut into small rectangles
- Garnish with chopped chives/green onions or additional seaweed
- In a pot, combine 4 c water, 1 c frozen corn, and seasonings.
- In a blender, put 1 c water, ¾ c frozen corn and ½ brick tofu. Blend until smooth and pour into pot. Use additional 1 c water to clean out blender and then pour that liquid into pot.
- Cook over medium-high heat until simmering or just until corn is cooked (watch it carefully as it can boil over quickly) and turn off.
- Add cubed tofu and seaweed. Stir in being careful not to break tofu.
- Serve into individual bowls and garnish with chives/green onions and/or seaweed.
You can use other types of tofu, but silken is the traditional type used for miso. Firm stays together better than soft and the cubes don’t break apart as easily. I use the 12 oz tetrapak (non-refrigerated type), but you can use the larger water packed and it would be fine too.
Make sure the seaweed is the plain roasted type for sushi, not the oiled and salted type.
This soup will eventually settle out like miso (with the clear layer rising to the top). It will tend to do it more if you use a more grainy tofu and don't blend as smooth.
Here’s the breakdown based on our costs. Of course, costs will differ based on how much your ingredients cost in your locality.
|Cost per 1 cup serving||$0.15|
*We wait until it’s on sale at the Asian market and then stock up.
**These are just generous approximations.
So there you have it! One of our family favorites that is easy enough for even Mr. Crumb Saver to make, yet gourmet enough to impress your guests. Enjoy!
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