Miso Excited About This Healing Soup!
All hail the magical healing properties of real food! When prepared and cooked properly, it can fix all sorts of health problems – it’s how I’ve continued to heal my broken body and it may also be the answer for you if you’re searching for something beyond medication. Just yesterday, I was reminded about how powerful real food can be. It was during an epic day of baking and converting unhealthy into healthy at school, when my belly began to burn and bloat in protest. Let me explain…
We don’t use sugar or processed ingredients at the Natural Gourmet Institute. Instead, we source and cook with real, natural, organic products that support the body in digestion and assimilation of essential nutrients, minerals and lots of other great stuff born from natural foods found in nature.
So when it comes to baking at school, you can imagine the challenges we face. Most conventional cakes, pastries, muffins and cookies found on our supermarket shelves today are made in large quantities with all sorts of weird, artificial substances. Flavours and sweeteners our ancestors used to create from real foods are now mostly made in laboratories by people in white coats. Scary but true.
To prove you do NOT have to use such junk to achieve the same – if not better – baked goods and sweet treats, we removed all the crappy crud including processed white and brown sugar, fake butters and processed milks and replaced them with real thinks like 100% organic maple crystals, date crystals, raw honey, butter and eggs. To do this properly, we started from the unhealthy beginnings of the baked good in question, (cookies, muffins and cakes), using overly-processed ingredients to make the item ‘as is’ which helped us to properly analyse how each ingredient affected the product – taste and consistency being the two main factors.
Systemically removing the bad and replacing with the good, we worked over and over again to bake each item watching for changes in flavour, texture, colour and overall appearance. Are you picturing me knee-deep in baked goods? Because I was! To add even more complexity to this task, I was partnered with two of my (amazingly wonderful) vegan classmates which meant we had even more steps to cover replacing the eggs, then butter to create a healthy AND vegan-friendly, gluten free product. Oy Vey! To ‘veganise’ our products, we replaced 100% organic butter with things like nut butter, coconut oil and olive oil. Eggs were substituted with ingredients including ground flaxseeds, chia (both mixed with water to make a gooey, egg-like texture), pureed apple and we even tried a tahini paste mix which worked well and tasted great!
At this point I need to point out that for every baked treat we made, we were required to taste the finished product for flavour and texture. This included the nasty, synthetic-filled products made at the beginning of the day, ugh! After baking and sampling our sweet creations all morning, by lunchtime, well, you can only image the scene: a kitchen filled with crazed chefs running on a mix of processed sugars, flours, butters, eggs and natural sweeteners. Disaster zone! All I can say – speaking on behalf of my fellow classmates – is THANK MOTHER EARTH for Chef Elliot Pragg and his healing miso soup!! A few spoonfuls of this magical elixir and BOOM! Our over-compromised, bloated bellies instantly felt better, our minds began to calm and feel soothed.
Bottom line? Food. Can. Heal. And just to prove it, with permission from Chef Elliot and the Natural Gourmet Institute, I am sharing THE recipe of all recipes… But don’t wait until your stomach is burning to make this dish, oh no! Make this miso soup today, tonight, NOW, to enjoy its healing powers and delicious flavours. It’s the perfect follow up meal after eating all kinds of sweet, natural treats including my raw passionfuit cake, yummy stirred custard or my sugar-free fruit cake. Are you salivating yet? Well what are you waiting for!? Get cooking friends and enjoy your restorative food.
Chef Elliot Pragg’s Famous Miso Soup
Servings: 8 x 1 cup
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 medium onion, 280g/10 ounces, sauté slice
- 1 carrot, 220g/8 ounces, matchstick cut
- 2 ribs celery, 170g/6 ounces, sliced diagonally
- 8-10 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 piece of kombu*
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup wakame*, soaked 10 minutes and drained
- ¼ cup arame*, soaked 10 minutes and drained
- 220g/½ lb firm tofu, diced
- 8 cups/2 quarts water (filtered water is optimal)
- 1 tbs fresh ginger juice, or more to taste
- 1 tbs lemon juice OR brown rice vinegar (or more) to taste
- 1 cup white 'mellow' miso* (or more) to taste
- For garnish: 2 scallions/spring oniond, include both white and green portions, thinly sliced; dried nori sheets*, sliced
- Heat oil in a deep pot - enough to hold eight cups of liquid. Add onions, carrots, celery, shiitakes, garlic, kombu and salt. Sweat on low flame/heat covered for approximately 10 minutes.
- Add wakame, arame, and tofu. Continue to simmer on low heat 'sweat' covered for another 10 minutes.
- Add water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for another 10-15 minutes. Turn off heat. Let broth stand for 5-10 minutes. Add ginger and lemon juice.
- Mix miso in a separate bowl with 2 cups of broth (process called 'tempering'). Add tempered miso back into the soup pot.
- Serve, garnished with scallions and nori and enjoy the delicious, healing benefits of this magical elixir!
*(found at your local asian grocery or health food store)