Miso and coconut are two of my most favorite ingredients. One I was introduced to only in recent years, and the other is something I grew up eating almost every day in my Konkani home where coconut was part of just about any recipe.
Both have transcendental health qualities - miso, a fermented bean paste, is believed to prevent some kinds of cancer and is rich in wonderful enzymes that aid digestion. Coconut, while high in saturated fat, is still one of the healthiest foods you can eat, not to mention one of the tastiest. To a vegan, coconut milk- which is loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals- is particularly valuable because it works wonderfully as a cream substitute in most recipes. Plus, it tastes way better than calorie-loaded cow fat.
For those new to cooking with miso, there are a variety of miso pastes available in Asian stores and supermarkets, but a beginner might want to go with a mild-tasting one when you first try this soup. Miso is very salty, so remember that when you plan to add it to a recipe, you will want to hold back on the salt. Also, in a cooked dish, add miso at the very end, because boiling it can kill the healthful enzymes.
As anyone who has been to my blog before would know, I cook a lot with coconut, but this one is very special to me. It gets ready in no time and always leaves me feeling like I've done something good for myself.
Coconut Miso Soup
4 cups water (even better, use light, vegetable stock if you have some on hand. Make sure it has no salt, though.)
1 14-oz can light coconut milk
4 tbsp barley miso
8 large button mushrooms, sliced very thin
1 tsp ground black pepper
½ cup of seaweed, cut in pieces (optional- I use any seaweed I have on hand, but my hubby is not a big fan of seaweed so I do leave it out often enough. It doesn't really hurt the dish)
1 cup brown rice, cooked
1 tbsp ginger
1 tsp canola oil
7-8 fresh basil leaves
Heat canola oil in a soup pot. Add the sliced mushrooms and saute until they begin to caramelize just slightly.
Add the ginger and stir in
Add the water and then the seaweed, if using. Let it come to a boil. Simmer for about 2-3 minutes.
Add the cooked brown rice and stir in.
Meanwhile, mix the miso paste in the coconut milk, adding some of the warm soup stock if necessary, until no lumps remain.
Take the soup off the heat, and then add the miso-coconut mixture to it.
Tear in some fresh basil leaves and serve hot.