Hideko Noguchi

Classic Miso Soup with Tofu Recipe (味噌汁; miso shiru)

Recipe by Hideko Noguchi

There's nothing quite like a bowl of mamma's miso soup! It's packed with umami and love!

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Classic Miso Soup with Tofu Recipe (味噌汁; miso shiru)

Miso is a delicious and versatile seasoning that warms the body and soul. It adds depth, plus savoriness and a subtle sweetness. In Japan, depending on the region and the length of fermentation, you can get miso in a wide variety of flavors and colors. Some are pale and sweet, while others are dark and salty, and pack a powerful punch of flavor.

For Japanese people, miso soup is the taste of mom's home cooking. Depending on the variety of dashi, the taste will vary with each household. This recipe shows you how to make a classic miso soup using niboshi (dried small Japanese anchovies). Vegetarians and vegans can try making it with konbu kelp dashi.

Various kinds of vegetables and mushrooms go well together in miso soup, but the classic ingredient is tofu. Nowadays, tofu is widely known across the world for its health benefits and versatility. Tofu has a delicate flavor, and can be used in both savory and sweet dishes. It is also an excellent source of protein, amino acids, iron, calcium and other essential nutrients, while being naturally gluten-free and low in fat and calories. There are many varieties of tofu, and different levels of firmness: from pudding-soft, all the way to extra firm. Add the indispensable Japanese flavor of classic miso soup with tofu to your repertoire – you’re going to love it!


Beans & Tofu

Soups & Stews





Calorie count is per serving.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 20 g wakame seaweed (salted) (0.7 oz)
  • 100 g momendofu (1/3 block) (3.5 oz)
  • 1/3 Japanese leek
  • 400 ml niboshi dashi (refer to Preparation) (13.5 oz)
  • 35 g miso (1.2 oz)

(Makes approx. 600 ml (20 oz) of niboshi dashi)


Remove the heads and guts from 50 g (1.8 oz) of niboshi.


Pour 1 L (34 oz) of water into a pot and soak the niboshi for around 20 minutes.


Place the pot over medium heat. When it comes to a boil, remove the surface scum and lower the heat to medium. Simmer for 20 minutes and strain into a bowl.



Soak the wakame in water for around 5 minutes to remove the salt. Place in boiling water and drain as soon as the water comes to a boil. Cut into 3 cm long pieces.


Cut the tofu into 1.5 cm cubes. Chop the leek.


Pour the niboshi dashi into a pot and place over medium heat. When it starts to bubble, dissolve the miso into it.


Add the wakame followed by the tofu and turn off the heat as soon as it starts to bubble. Serve in individual bowls and sprinkle with chopped leek.


Note: Never boil miso soup!
Once you add the miso, you should turn off the heat as soon as the soup starts to bubble. This is the golden rule. Boiling the soup will destroy the delicate miso aroma. This rule, however, does not apply to white miso. Because white miso has only been allowed to ferment for a short time, the more you simmer it, the more flavorful it becomes.