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Seafood Miso Soup

Seafood Miso Soup

Whenever I haven’t eaten seafood in a while I always seem to end up doing a big mix of the lovely stuff in bowl. This was absolutely no exception.

I have always been a fan of seafood soups. Bouillibasse (in it’s many incarnations) has been my favorite for a long time, but takes a while to cook which wasn’t something I was after on this particular night. Miso soup on the other hand can actually be ready in a flash, even if you do dump a big stash of seafood in it.

There are many things I love about Miso soup. The first is just how abstract I find the individual components – especially since I am not incredibly versed in Japanese cooking. Whoever thought of combining fermented soy beans (miso), dried fish flakes, seaweed and water together was most likely a bit of a nut-job, but a bloody brilliant one at that. I love how darn easy it is to make a very tasty soup. I love it when meat and two veg guests come over, and you tell them what is going into the soup (happened this night in fact.. ). I love just how bloody well it pairs with seafood (thanks to the dashi base). I love the soft clouds of miso that mix through the soup on each stir with a chopstick.

It was a good evening. Danika’s parents came over. I scared her Mum by getting her to sniff and guess what was going into the soup. Bowls were clean by the end of the meal. Danika’s Mum is now a fan of dried fish flakes and fermented soy beans.

So what seafood goes in? Well, in my mind just about anything that isn’t too fatty. You also want stuff that holds together pretty well. You cannot go wrong with shellfish (so true in so many occasions) – clams, mussels, shrimp are all worthy contenders. Cockles, and even lobster would certainly be possible – as would crab. I like to bung a few chunks of fish in there too – and my favorite for this is monkfish tail. Avoid salmon for this one. Just make sure that all the seafood is really fresh, otherwise the soup is going to taste pretty stale.

Whilst you are at it, why not pop in some mushrooms too? Heck, a little bit of baby bok choy wouldn’t hurt either (I forgot that one this time round..). Green onions to give a little tang.

I like to serve just some simple short grain rice on the side, dressed with a little seasoned rice wine vinegar, ginger and shallots. I obviously don’t have to talk about Sake here. Nuff said.

The Dashi recipe below comes thanks to the wonderful book “Harumi’s Japanese Cooking”, by Harumi Kurihara.

Seafood Miso Soup Recipe

(serves 4)

Mix of seafood including, but not limited to:

20 mussels

20 clams

8 large shrimp

1 monkfish tail – about 1/2lb

Sake – two wine glasses

Dashi (soup base):

8 cups of water

2 4×4″ peices of dried kombu seaweed

2 tablespoons of dried fish flakes (dried bonito flakes)

8 tablespoons of miso paste

Handful of mixed mushrooms – enoki, shitake and so on

2 green onions – finely sliced

1 cup of short grain sushi rice

seasoned rice wine vinegar

1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and crushed

1 small shallot, finely chopped

Start by prepping the seafood. Scrub the clams. Scrub the mussels – removing any barnacles stuck onto the shell. Pull off the mussel beard. Discard any clams or mussels that have broken shells, or are open and don’t close when you tap them. Trim the monkfish tail. You want to remove any of the black membrane that may be on it. Cut the monkfish into 1″ cube pieces. Wash the shrimp, and remove the vein if necessary.

Now to make the dashi. Put the seaweed and water together in a medium saucepan. Let sit for 10 minutes. Heat the pan. As the water starts to get warm, remove the seaweed and discard. When the water starts to boil, add in the fish flakes, and cook for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat. The stock is ready when the fish flakes have dropped to the bottom of the pan. Strain the broth, and discard the flakes.

In a small bowl combine the seasoned rice wine vinegar, ginger and shallot.

Cook the rice according to package directions.

Now to cook the seafood. In one pan (with a lid) heat half of the sake. Do the same with the other glass of sake in another pan with a tight fitting lid. When the sake in the first pan comes to a boil, let it reduce a bit and then toss in the clams and mussels. Cover. Let cook for a minimum of 3 minutes. You should start hearing the shells open, and start smelling the sea. Take a peek in the pan after 3 minutes. If 3/4 of the shells are open – good stuff, take off the heat. If not, cook for a little longer and check again. In the other pan of boiling sake put the monkfish tail pieces mushrooms and shrimp. Cook for about 4 minutes, or until the shrimp and monkfish are just cooked through.

Make sure the dashi is just boiling. Mix in the miso paste. Stir to thoroughly combine.

Pour the vinegar over the rice, and gently mix. Divide between 4 small bowls.

Divide all the seafood and mushrooms between 4 other bowls. Pour over the dashi. Top with a little of the sliced green onions.

Serve the seafood miso soup and rice with some lovely gently warmed sake.

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21 Responses to “Seafood Miso Soup”

  1. elra says:

    Love miso soup, I always have different kind of miso in my refrigerator, I normally made it with tofu, without ginger and rice wine vinegar. I should try this version, seems very flavorful.

  2. Y says:

    I love miso soup, and usually have mine with tofu, although I’ve had one in a restaurant that had clams in it too. Yours looks very heart warming :)

  3. Also love using miso as soup base, such as cooking udon with oysters, glad to share with you here, http://www.tastehongkong.com/recipes/oyster-udon, enjoy. TasteHongKong

  4. jo says:

    I love the fact that the flavours are not compromise and that the freshness of the seafood can be tasted. Lovely dish and great pixs as well.

  5. Jeff B says:

    Dashi may seem like madness but there is a method to it. And its a clear example of the brilliance of Japanese cooking.

    Read about kombu, bonito, and shitake here:

  6. This looks and sounds wonderful. I’ve suddenly developed an obsession with miso.

  7. The umami from bonito fish flakes is wonderful, it brings the broth to life. Your mother in law must feel pretty lucky to be eating wonderful Japanese home cooked meals…..from a Brit? WTF?
    It goes to show that food crosses all borders. Beautiful picture Matt!

  8. This looks wonderful. I love miso soup and I love shellfish, so it’s the perfect recipe!

  9. Jesse says:

    That’s a beautiful picture! The broth looks so clear… not cloudy at all! How the heck did you do that?? I’m really impressed.

  10. nina says:

    For someone who only likes thick and creamy soups, this looks pretty amazing to me!!!! Beautiful!!!

  11. redmenace says:

    I’ve never made miso and I’m kicking myself for this. Thank you for the suggestion and the fabulous recipe. I look forward to it!

  12. Love it. Another one I really like is steamed clams with sake. Sooooo good and soooooo easy to make. I made some a few nights ago. Slurp.

  13. Ron says:

    I love traditional miso soup but your seafood version looks ten times better! I love your website because I love seafood :]

  14. Shari says:

    I’ve never had miso soup, but yours looks wonderful!

  15. Sounds like a fantastic combination. Looks beautiful too.

  16. brittany says:

    We love Miso soup. We’ve been eating it for breakfast with a few frozen potstickers thrown in.

    Is that sacrelig?

  17. matt wright says:

    Britt – nope, that is awesome! In traditional Japan soup was often served for breakfast. Course, you might have got it for using frozen potstickers..

  18. Lang says:

    I’m sure your in-laws must be very happy, Matt! What a gorgeous looking miso. BTW, did you get the monk at Mutual? I’ve been meaning to ask them where theirs comes from, how it was caught, etc., because I love the “poor man’s lobster” but have read that it’s one of the do-not-buy fish unless you can verify that it’s caught using hand-lines and other more sustainable fishery practices. In any event, lovely meal!

  19. sally says:

    I’ve been daydreaming about a crab salad and mussels. I think you’ve show me the way to something a little different. Thanks.

  20. Kim says:

    I stumbled across your website when searching for a miso seafood soup to make. I will try your recipe! Just wondering, did you throw out the sake that you used to cook the clams and shrimp/fish in? When ready to be served, you put them in the dashi/miso soup, but what about the cooked sake? Thanks!