Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Miso Soup... for the springtime soul!

It’s easy to think that colds and the flu disappear in the spring and summer. But in fact spring can often “spring” a wave of cold and flu viruses, if for no other reason than because we were least expecting it and because of those sunny days that urge us to forget our jacket and scarf when we leave the house! When the body is sick it is important to nourish it with simple foods that provide optimal nourishment in an easily digestible form. Hence chicken and other nutrient dense easy to digest soups that most kids remember being fed while sick and home from school.

My boyfriend got sick this week and I had to pull out all the stops. My stash of home made stock in the freezer had run low, most likely because of the springtime shift and there were only a few vegetable odds and ends floating around from last weeks farmer’s market. This is what I threw together and it was delicious!

Miso is a salty flavoring paste traditionally from Japan that is made from fermented soy beans, rice barley and/or other grains. Unpasteurized miso can be found in the refrigerated section of most natural health food stores and is a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals and live active cultures! There are many different types of miso, I prefer the rich taste of the darker brown or red varieties of miso, while white miso is usually on the sweeter side.

2 stalks fresh green garlic, sliced into moons
¼ cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 cup broccoli crown and stems, split into bite sized pieces
1 cup brown rice, cooked
2 heaping Tbs. red miso paste
small handful daikon radish sprouts, although any fresh sprouts will do

In a medium saucepan bring 1½ - 2 cups of water to a simmer. Add broccoli, green garlic and cooked brown rice and cover. Let simmer for 2 – 3 minutes, turn off heat add cilantro and cover. Meanwhile place 2 heaping Tbs. of red miso paste into a mug, pour boil water into the cup, leaving yourself enough room to stir. Then stir the mixture together until the miso is fully dissolved and all chunks are gone. Pour the miso concentrate into the soup, stir well and serve. Garnish with sprouts and a twist of fresh black pepper!

Variations: Add 1 – 2 tsp. raw tahini to your miso/water mixture for a little extra flavor and nutrition (it really tastes great). Tahini is a nut butter made from sesame seeds, which are high in protein and calcium!

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