Sick

Gee, Vocal Chords. You Suck. : A Miso Soup Re-Run

Dear Vocal Chords, you’ve got to understand where I’m coming from. Your decision to go on strike is getting a bit out-of-hand. If it’s about indulging in dairy products or consuming alcohol, we can discuss other options besides a complete shut-out. I feel like it’s the 90s and any minute now, Ashton Kutcher is going to walk out with a Zoo York or Von Dutch trucker hat and tell me I’ve been Punk’d.

Exhibit A. Him holding a T-Mobile Sidekick is just a bonus.

I didn’t realize how upsetting a sudden onset of vocal chord drama could be. This is nothing compared to the misunderstood teenagers on Degrassi: The Next Generation.

I digress.

I’m pretty rough on my vocal chords. I’m sure I could be a better human by valuing my ability to speak. I have no other symptoms of misery – fever, chills, etc. – just a cough worthy of Lifetime movie drug addicts and no sound when I attempt to speak. I’m a loon, and as such am not using sick leave from work, and have been getting by with e-mails, a notepad, and goodwill of others.

And miso soup. Misoshiru, for members of my family reading this who think I’ve forgotten all of my toddler Nihongo.

I’ve posted about miso soup before. I’ve even made a shitty video with no background music attempting to demonstrate how to make it. It is disturbingly simple to make, and miraculously healing. That is quite a deal – a lot for soup to give you in return for a trip to a Japanese market or international aisle/section of a grocery store.

We’re going to have a brief discussion about miso. Roll your eyes, but if you end up with nasty or weak-tasting soup, don’t come back crying. These next two paragraphs are crucial.

The type of miso you use will drastically change the flavor of your soup. All misos are not created equally. My mother (and entire family) uses Shiromiso, or white miso. It is the most widely produced type of miso, and uses the least amount of soybeans and fermentation time. The taste is consequently sweet, soft, and light. Awase miso is my favorite. It mixes white and red miso together for a slightly stronger taste without losing the light texture.

After choosing your miso wisely, choose your proportions wisely. Since I like stronger miso, 2 tablespoons dissolved in 2 cups of boiling stock is more than enough for me. Experiment. You’ll be buying these ingredients in bulk, anyway.

Misoshiru aka Miso Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick iriko dashi – Japanese Soup base. The tubes look like blue pixie sticks with Japanese writing on them. They come in large bags at Japanese markets. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you want konbu dashi, since iriko dashi is made with a fish base.
  • 2 cups Water
  • 2 tablespoons awase miso (or shiro miso)
  • 4 inari – Fried Bean Curd. Eat them, don’t eat them, choose your own adventure. Buy them and use them to give your soup flavor, even if you don’t like eating the curd itself.
  • 1 block Extra-Firm Tofu, cut into bite-size cubes – Anything less firm than Extra-Firm will fall apart in the soup and look gross. Tofu is like binary code, use the right kind (1) or nothing at all (0).
  • Green Onions – Roughly Chopped

Combine the iriko dashi and water together in a pot over High heat. Stir until the dashi powder is dissolved. Bring to a solid (not rolling) boil, then turn the heat down to medium. Add the miso, and stir until it is completely dissolved.

Once the miso is dissolved, add the inari and tofu.

Let everything simmer together until the tofu is cooked to your liking.  (15 minutes? 20 minutes? Something like that.)

Cure yo’self.

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