Many Reasons to Eat Your Miso
Miso—one of the primary ingredients in Asian cuisine—is now making headlines in the Western world. Doctors have recently begun to tout the healing properties of miso for such conditions as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancer, chronic pain, and food allergies. The Miso Book: The Art of Cooking with Miso by John and Jan Belleme (Square One Publishers, 2004) offers everything you could need to know about this popular ingredient, from its cultivation and history to preparation methods and miso’s healing properties.
Creamy Squash Soup with Coconut Milk
Serves 3-4 servings
2 medium leeks
2 tsp. canola or sesame oil
3 cups cubed butternut or acorn squash
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2-1/2 cups water
14-ounce can coconut milk
1/8 tsp. black pepper, or to taste
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbs. ginger juice
3 tbs. sweet white miso
minced parsley for garnish
1. Cut off and discard the root and the dark green fibrous portion of the leeks. Slice each leek lengthwise, cutting through only to the center (not all the way through). Wash carefully to remove any soil that may be trapped between the leaves. Cut the leeks into 1/4-inch slices and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, squash, and salt, stirring briefly to coat with oil, and sauté for 1 minute. Add the water and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the pepper and cinnamon. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Remove the cinnamon stick.
3. Carefully ladle some of the soup into a blender until it is half full. Add the ginger juice and miso, and blend until puréed. (Blending hot soup can be dangerous. Don’t fill the blender more than half full.) Pour the purée in a large bowl, and continue to blend the remaining soup.
4. Return the puréed soup to the pot, and simmer over medium-low heat until heated through. Garnish with parsley before serving.Excerpted with permission from The Miso Book: the Art of Cooking with Miso