Ginger carrot and miso soup
You’re going to love this soup! Not only is it colorful and full of flavor, it’s also really easy to make.
Miso is a staple in my home. It’s a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting soybean, rice or other grains with salt and a fungus (koji). The result is a thick paste—the consistency of peanut butter—that’s rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. Miso has a unique flavor best described as salty, sweet, earthy, fruity, and savory (umami).
There are many types of miso; they differ in ingredients, fermentation process and saltiness and range in color from white to dark brown. The lighter miso pastes are milder and less salty, while the darker ones are more intense. If you’re just starting out you may want to buy a white, mild miso. Remember that miso is a seasoning; a little goes a long way, so add it bit by bit until you get the flavor right.
A few tips:
Spiciness: This recipe is rather mild and will appeal to a wide range of tastes. If you like it tangy, increase the amount of ginger.
Don’t boil the soup after adding the miso: Miso loses some of its flavor and aroma, as well as some of its beneficial enzymes, when boiled.
1 large onion, diced
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger root
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
12 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1-2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut to ¾ inch slices
4 heaping tablespoons miso (see above for guidance on choosing miso)
Garnish: toasted slivered almonds and/or some finely chopped green fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro or chives)
In a large soup pot, over medium-high heat, sauté the onions and grated ginger in the olive oil until fragrant.
Add the chunks of carrot, sweet potato and cumin.
Add water, covering ingredients by 1.5 inches. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer.
Simmer over moderate heat for 15-20 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are soft, but the carrots are still chewy. Remove from heat.
Puree the soup with an immersion blender, regular blender or food processor. (An immersion blender is an inexpensive kitchen tool that saves a lot of cleanup. It can be used in the pot in which the food has been cooked, and easily purees with a flip of the switch.)
Add the miso paste gradually, using the immersion blender or food processor to mix, while tasting the soup continuously. The amount of miso needed will depend on the type of miso you’re using and on personal taste.
Taste and correct seasoning by adding ground cinnamon, freshly ground pepper or more miso.
Serve with a garnish of toasted slivered almonds and/or some finely chopped green fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro or chives) for a nice color contrast.