I previously wrote an article on TheTaste.ie “don’t diet change your lifestyle – 7 Japanese secrets”. In the article I wrote that I believe dieting is a short term solution and having a healthy lifestyle that is realistic and practical will work long term. I believe you should never have to compromise your love for food and good taste to have a healthy lifestyle.
January is the perfect time of year to turn to the Japanese diet and integrate certain elements of it into your everyday cooking. One of the seven secrets of the Japanese diet is “The Power of Miso Soup”. In the traditional Japanese diet miso soup accompanies every meal. Drinking miso soup will boost digestion after meals and help cleanse the body.
Miso soup is low in fat and carbohydrates, and high in protein. In addition to its health benefits miso soup makes you feel full for a longer period which stops snacking between meals. Here’s my simple miso soup to get you started on your food journey to the Japanese way of eating.
For the dashi
– 1 litre water
– Few thin strips of dried Irish kombu (kelp)
– 3 dried shiitake mushrooms
For the miso soup
– 200g savoy cabbage leaves, washed and roughly chopped
– 2–3 tbsp miso paste, depending on your own taste
– shichimi togarashi, to season (japanese seven spice)
1. Put 1 litre of cold water in a large saucepan. Add the kombu and shiitake mushrooms to the water and leave to soak for at least 30 minutes (If you have time leave to soak for a few hours or overnight in the fridge). Heat the water until it comes to the boil and then remove the kombu and mushrooms immediately.
2. Add the cabbage leaves and cook for 10 minutes.
3. Dilute the miso paste in a small cup of dashi taken from the saucepan.
4. Reduce soup to a very low heat and add the miso paste to the saucepan. Gently stir into the soup until mixed through. Taste to check if you need to add more miso paste.
5. Serve in a bowl and season with shichimi togarashi.
Tip: Store the miso soup in a flask for a work or on the go healthy lunch option.
A self-taught cook, food-writer and author, Fiona Uyema is one of Ireland’s leading Japanese cooks and cookery instructors. Passionate about bringing the art of Japanese home-cooking into kitchens across the country and further afield, her first book, Japanese Food Made Easy was published in September 2015.
Fiona Uyema’s love of the Japanese language, culture and cuisine began in Dublin City University where she studied Japanese and International Marketing. She then spent three years living in the beautiful village of Nishiyama. After her introduction to her now husband Gilmar, her love of Japan was sealed.
Fiona now lives in Co. Kildare with her husband and two sons where she teaches workshops, provides corporate classes on the art of Japanese cooking, provides consultancy to restaurants and the food industry and blogs about her Japanese food adventures on Fiona’s Japanese Cooking Blog.