Miso soup: the quintessential Japanese food. The soup takes on a different form from region to region and in different households throughout Japan, but it wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that miso soup is the soul of Japanese cooking.

However, one of England’s top chefs recently published his own take on the soup. What kind of “neo-Japanese soup” could this possibly be!? Of course, our reporter just had to find out by making it herself–keep reading to see the results of her cooking after the jump.

“Well, Japanese people occasionally add pork to their miso soup, so maybe the recipe won’t be that strange!” thought our intrepid Japanese reporter Meg when she learned that this new take on a Japanese classic contained beef of all things. “And it was publicized by a top chef, after all. Maybe this recipe will even lead to a taste revolution the likes of which Japan has never experienced before!”

The “Miso soup with beef and kale” recipe in question was originally printed in the Guardian by Nigel Slater, a preeminent English food writer, journalist, and broadcaster who is known for his quick and visually appealing recipes. Meg was intrigued by Slater’s idea, and so she decided to test out his recipe for herself in true RocketNews24 fashion.

All right foodies, it’s time to get this show on the road!

Ingredients (serves 3-4 people)

See the Guardian article for Nigel Slater’s original English explanation of the recipe, complete with helpful tips. What follows below is an English translation of Meg’s step-by-step directions following her own attempt. 

– 240 grams of steak
– 100 grams of kale (spinach or bok choy is also OK)
– A small amount of sliced green onion
– 800 ml (a little under 3.5 cups) of water
– Stock or bouillon cubes (adjust to match the quantity of ingredients)
– 1 tablespoon of shiromiso (white miso)



1. Separate the kale leaves from the stems and finely chop both piles.


2. Saute the stems quickly in a heated pan, then add the beef.


3. Add the green onion once the beef has browned on the outside.


4. Transfer the meat to a plate for the time being. Add water to the pan. Wait for it to boil, then add the stock/bouillon cubes and miso.


5. Cut the meat into manageable pieces and add it to the soup, along with the kale leaves.


…And that’s it! You’re ready to enjoy your soup.

Meg comments that the entire cooking process took her only 10 minutes to complete. The pictures in the Guardian article suggest that the beef should still be pink inside, so you only need to cook it until it’s medium rare, for about one and half minutes on each side.


So what’s the verdict from a native Japanese diner?

Meg muses that there are some Japanese people who add kale to their miso soup, or use bouillon cubes as a last resort when they run out of traditional dashi stock. Nevertheless, she was still anxious with anticipation before sampling her newfound creation. The bottom line? If she had to pick between “good” and “bad,” she would pick the former.

The beef and the sautéed kale added a hidden and delicate depth to the soup, with the miso combining to give it a complex flavor. Although it took her only 10 minutes to make, it tasted as if it had been allowed to sit and absorb even more flavor overnight.


But is it really miso soup…?

Meg personally felt like the soup would have been better if diluted with a bit more water, but its taste far surpassed her initial expectations regardless. However, she wants to clarify one other detail: this isn’t miso soup!

While saying that the soup is tasty would be right on the money, the miso flavor was somewhat overpowered by the taste of the bouillon and beef. Perhaps rather than calling it miso soup, it would be more accurate to call it “bouillon soup with miso.” She got the feeling that it would pair better with bread than with rice as well.

So there you have it–while Japanese people might be surprised to call it miso soup, the end result in itself wasn’t bad at all. “Bouillion soup with a hidden miso flavor” seems to fit the bill!

▼ A few more tips–the beef should be cooked to medium rare, like this.


▼ Meg wanted to eat the beef as is, but she used her willpower and held back.


▼ “It’s not bad, but you can’t call it miso soup!” she says.


▼ Bread on the side, please.


▼ Here’s Meg with the kale called for in the recipe. Kale can be a bit bitter, so some people may prefer to substitute it with cabbage or bok choy instead.


Original article by Meg Sawai
Source: The Guardian 
All photos © RocketNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]