Last night I tried miso for the first time in the Miso Vegetable Hot Pot from Lorna Sass’ Short-Cut Vegetarian. Miso’s an interesting beast: though its pasty consistency isn’t terribly appealing (it dissolves into soup broth) and it smells kind of funny, it’s actually a pretty tasty way to add a little salty flavor to your soup (it is relatively high in sodium, so those on sodium restricted diets might want to avoid it). It’s made from fermented soybeans, so it has similar health benefits to other soy products. According to the International Vegetarian Union, though, some Japanese brands of miso contain fish stock.
My version of the above recipe was actually pretty different. Instead of dark miso I used a sweet white miso, instead of tofu, I used long-grain rice tempeh, instead of bok choy I used organic spinach, I left out the baby corn, and I added carrots and celery. And since I didn’t have enough in the way of scallions, I used 1/4 cup scallions and a 1/4 cup of regular yellow onion, chopped. The end result was pretty similar to the original, I’d imagine. The broth was nice and tasty and the almost-raw veggies added some nice crunch. Not bad. Huyen went back for seconds, so that’s a good sign. :)