When it rains, it pours. This has been a rough week for me. On top of the stress of life, work, and the holidays, someone I hold close to my heart is in the hospital. Knowing that she’s not doing well and that I couldn’t travel to see her right now is hard to accept.
At one point, the rain was so torrential I had to stop and zoom out. Look at things beyond this week, this moment, these feelings. Looking at everything from way up above, I saw that I wasn’t taking care of me. It’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind and let seemingly little things drop. But most of the time, those little things add up to some peace, some balance, some sanity.
As I work on listening to myself again and restarting those little things, I turn to the kitchen to make miso soup. Miso soup is a simple thing that give me great peace. The comforting flavor of miso paired with the nourishment of seaweed, tofu, and dashi is a breath of much needed fresh air, a sigh of relief.
There are several ways to make miso soup, but I prefer the traditional way. It’s simple and I know exactly what’s going in my soup. The traditional way means you make your own dashi broth from scratch. You’ll need to buy kombu seaweed (it’s also often called dashi kombu seaweed) and shaved bonito flakes for the broth. Kombu seaweed is a larger and flatter seaweed that comes in strips. Bonito flakes (or katsuobushi) are dried and smoked shavings from the bonito fish. Bonito gives the broth a great depth and umami.
Once you’ve made the broth, you can add shiitakes, tofu, and wakame. Feel free to add more ingredients, like bok choy, green onions, soba noodles, even rice. At the last minute, you’ll swirl in dissolved miso paste and the whole soup comes alive. Miso soup is one of my comfort foods, so make it as comfortable as possible.