Sunday, July 10, 2011

Supertonic Miso Soup

"Crab" mushrooms and fresh ginseng root
Now that my lovely wife is officially a cancer survivor, we're shoring up her recovery (and keeping other maladies at bay) with not only fresh, healthy foods, but especially potent disease-fighting and longevity-promoting foods.

Tonight I made a pot of miso soup with fresh ginseng root, arame seaweed, and mushrooms. I began by making a "kombu dashi," which is a seaweed broth base used for a number of Japanese soups, sauces and salad dressings. I omitted the traditional bonito fish flakes, since I'm not eating any animals these days, even thought this does make the broth much stronger and flavorful (oh well...). The secret to making this broth is to prevent it from coming to a boil while the kombu is in it, as this tends to turn it bitter. I had it hovering just below a boil for a good twenty minutes, and then pulled it out. I added thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms, very finely julienned fresh ginseng root, pre-soaked arame seaweed, and tamari sauce to the broth, and continued cooking over low heat until all the vegetables were tender. Then I added a few ounces of crab mushrooms and cooked them a few minutes more.

To finish the soup, I stirred some of the broth with a generous amount of mellow white miso in a bowl to form a runny paste. Then I removed the soup from the heat and stirred in the miso, along with a few thinly sliced scallions and generous splashes of mirin and sake. After a taste, I added just a bit more tamari.

All of these ingredients are highly nutritious, supporting the digestive and immune systems. The soup itself is both delicious and richly satisfying.  It's one of those foods you can feel going straight into your blood and bones.

I've been drinking a Chinese ginseng-astragalus combination tea in the morning, instead of coffee, for years. The honest truth is that I don't know if my habits have helped keep me healthy or if it's just my outrageously great good fortune (I think both), but I do believe it can't hurt to give our bodies every bit of help we can.



  1. Sounds delicious and wonderful... ! How long can you keep leftovers in the fridge and still have it retain all of its wonderful nutritional values?
    With Appreciation,
    Jule ✮ ¨*•.¸ . ❤

  2. I recommend making just as much miso soup as you can eat at one time. Reheating it is risky, because too much heat will kill the probiotics. If you want to make a large batch, try heating only the amount you're going to eat right away, and add the miso only to that portion. In general, I don't recommend keeping food around much more than a day or two, unless it's pickled or otherwise preserved. Some condiments do well for this reason--a vinegar, salt or chile content that keeps microscopic opportunists away (or slows them down)will preserve them for longer periods.