Last week, I was delighted with a special treat. My assistant and friend, Sophie, assembled for me a fresh “make your own miso soup” kit. She had traveled to a massive Asian grocer in the Chicago suburbs with someone who guided her through the store and the foreign ingredients. Sophie purchased everything needed for Miso Soup, including fresh tofu (mmm… so silky, so smooth!), seaweed, and miso paste with dashi stock. She kindly delivered my personal miso kit in a petite tower of plastic containers with her handwritten instructions tied atop.

Despite her promise of ease, I was a bit intimidated. I don’t know why. Having sipped miso soup in many restaurants, it clearly does not involve too many ingredients. Still, it was all new to my kitchen. I found what Sophie promised was true – it is so easy to make and I discovered a fun, surprise element of the process. The seaweed she gave me was dried and each piece was about as big as a pencil eraser. Upon hitting the boiling water… poof! exploded into a full square of soft seaweed. I almost squealed with delight. It reminded me of those little capsules you get as a kid that go in your bath and turn into shaped sponges in minutes!

If you have an Asian grocer nearby – don’t be scared – truly, it really is so easy! Try this easy spring roll recipe while you are at it. And, to congratulate yourself on a fancy Asian meal, sip a lychee martini while pulling it all together.

p.s. In the upper corner of the photo, you will see the Green Tea cookies and almond Pokey sticks Sophie also gave me. mmmm.. the perfect sweet, crunchy treats to top off the meal.

Miso Soup
3 1/3 cups water
1- 1/2 oz. dried seaweed
4 Tbsp miso paste with dashi stock
Tofu, diced in small squares


Boil the water. Add seaweed (a little at a time to your desired amount) and boil for 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat and gently dissolve the miso paste in the water. Reheat the soup and add tofu (as much or as little as you like). Turn off heat as soon as water starts to boil and serve hot.