2/3 cups water per person.
1/2 shiitake mushroom per person
2 inches dry wakame per person
1/4 cup other vegetable/tofu per person
miso to taste
a dash of hondashi
Shiitake mushrooms are soaked the night before in the water to be used for the soup. This shiitake water is the soup base.
When preparing to cook, slice the mushrooms as thin as possible (1/8 inch thick) and about1/2-1 inch long.
Slice vegetables in a way that makes them easy to pick up with chopsticks or a fork. They should also be sliced about 1/8 inch thick and no more than 1 inch long. The thinner they are sliced, the quicker they cook.
The wakame needs to be soaked no more than 10 minutes. The soaking water is also used in the soup. Depending on the kind of wakame, you may need to cut the wakame after it is soaked. This can be done by laying it out flat on a cutting board and cutting 1inch by 1 inch strips. Alternatively, it can be done using a kitchen knife by snipping the wakame in its soaking water. But if done this way, be sure the pieces are not too big.
After adding hondashi to the stock (mushroom soaked water), bring the stock to a boil. The vegetable is cooked first. Usually it does not take more than 15 minutes depending on the vegetable, to cook. The mushrooms and wakame do not need to be cooked and are put in the boiling water just before adding the miso.
Be sure to stop the boiling water before adding miso. Boiling water will kill the good enzymes and bacteria in the miso.
After adding miso, taste the soup for flavor. It should not be too bland nor to salty.
The miso soup should not be done too far ahead of time. It should be finished by 15 minutes before serving.
*Note* The ingredients for miso soup can vary. Miso soup can be as simple as boiling a little cabbage and ginger in water and then adding miso to taste. Ginger is a very good medicinal. Miso soup can also be adopted to Western style soups using milk and butter and boiling vegetables such as carrots or peas. For recipes, see The Book of Miso. As far as Zen cooking is concerned, we use the ingredients that are on hand. Adjust the taste- increasing or decreasing saltiness or sweetness to the tastes of those you are serving.