Adaptogenic Miso Soup

Miso soup

I’ve always enjoyed a little “funk” in my food. Shout-out to any and all fermented veggies, home-made vegan cheeses, wild mushrooms, brine-y olives and what some would call… excessive… amounts of garlic and onion.

I could probably sit and devour an entire jar of kimchi in one sitting….

Anyway.

This soup is salty, spicy, umami and, most importantly, full of minerals and beneficial properties.

You can play around with it and add pretty much whatever you like: Green onion, steamed veggies, leafy greens like spinach or kale, the possibilities are endless!

I kept it pretty simple with this one, mainly because I’m partial to the purity of plain miso broth, and I wanted this to be more of a sipping broth/in-between meals kind of situation.

You can also experiment with different kinds of miso paste such as brown rice, red or sweet white miso. I use chickpea miso for most of my recipes, because it has a saltier, milder, less sweet flavor than other miso pastes I’ve tried.

For this soup, I use whole dried cordyceps mushroom.

Cordyceps is a wonderful medicinal mushroom, boasting countless benefits including the support of lung health, adrenal balance, stress response, immune system function and energy utilization.

Cordyceps is a Jing-nourishing herb, making it wonderful for those with drained energy reserves. You could eat this soup for breakfast as well, especially with the mild energy you may experience from this mushroom.

One interesting thing to note about cordyceps mushroom is that it typically grows on insects and larvae by taking over the brain and central nervous system, causing the host to act in accordance with the fungi’s biological agenda.

cordyceps mushroom

Luckily, the cordyceps mushrooms I use are not grown on insects but organic brown rice, making them vegan-friendly. Yay!

They have a very mushroom-y flavor, which I personally really enjoy in this soup. The hot broth softens them up as well, which makes eating them much more pleasant.

If you can’t find whole cordyceps mushrooms, you could substitute them with 1/4 tsp cordyceps mushroom extract powder.

One last thing to note about this recipe is that when making miso soup, it’s best not to heat the miso to extreme temperatures due to its high enzyme and probiotic content. I usually use water that’s just the perfect sipping temperature to make this recipe. It very easily remains raw by keeping temperatures under 118° F.

This recipe is super quick, and only takes as long as it takes your water to heat up.

Ingredients:

12 oz hot but not boiling filtered or spring water 
1 tsp (or a hefty pinch) dried cordyceps mushroom strands
1 tbsp chickpea miso paste 
1/4 tsp aged garlic extract
1 tbsp dried wakame seaweed
3/4 tsp tamari
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil (optional)
1 tsp fresh lime or lemon juice
1/2 tsp kimchi juice or your favorite fermented hot sauce to taste
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Begin by adding miso paste, along with all ingredients – besides the seaweed, sesame seeds and cordyceps mushrooms – to your favorite mug or bowl.
  2. Add a splash of cold water and mix vigorously until a smooth paste is achieved.
  3. Add the mushrooms and seaweed to the broth base.
  4. Pour the hot water over the rest of the ingredients and stir gently to combine.
  5. Top with extra sesame oil and sesame seeds for garnish.

Enjoy! ❤


5 thoughts on “Adaptogenic Miso Soup

  1. Many thanks for this recipe, it is marvellous. I found it while looking for miso soup recipes that work well without dashi and that are suitable for high quality miso, and it surely does. Not overheating the sensitive ingredients and adding them in the last step is in fact the secret.

    I am sharing the following for working with fresh cordyceps.

    For 12 oz total liquid base I soak 50 g of fresh, refrigerator-cool cordyceps in lukewarm water for 15 minutes. I then discard the soaking water, as it also may contain remains of the growth substrate, dust particles, and it always gets a yellow tint to it. I make sure to not boil the freshly soaked, drip-dry cordyceps for more than 4 minutes.

    Once I want to stop the cooking of the cordyceps in the hot phase, I remove the pot from the flame and then add the cooler miso solution to it in one quick pour and stir. This cools down everything to the desired temperature at once.

    If the resulting temperature still exceeds 118° F, I just use more of the total liquid for dissolving the miso and less water for parboiling the cordyceps.

    The temperature management in this step of course also heavily depends on the heat storing capacity of the cooking equipment and stove. When using heavy gear, one may benefit from using even less water for the hot phase and more water for the cool phase. I am preferring lighter gear for this, like a small enamel pot made of steel instead of cast iron.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow thank you for your comment 🙌 I’ve never actually tried boiling the mushrooms – I use dragon herbs snackable cordyceps, so they’re already soft and ready to eat! But I would love to try your method as I’m sure it extracts more of the good stuff from the shrooms 💖

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not sure. The soaking and parboiling of the fresh cordyceps might be just an elaborate form of cleaning it after harvest and otherwise be meaningless.

    Mouth feel is like cooked noodles before and after, otherwise I didn’t notice any change in taste or appearance from the 4 minutes of boiling.

    However, traditional recipes seem to boil it for hours and even stir fry it – so you might be right in assuming boiling might increase the bioavailability. When using ethnobotanics it’s best to stick to the indigenous methods of preparation and to not just incorporate the product without the processes, best example is the inappropriate use of unfermented soy bean in the western countries. On the one hand, the traditional users might be cooking cordyceps long time just because they know it doesn’t damage the mushroom or they have other good reasons to do so.

    On the other hand, I think there are only very few procedures involving long cooking times that actually make sense technically. Either it’s about making unpalatable or even unhealthy crops consumable (e.g. nixtamalization in the sense of transformation of the actual food together with a catalyst agent, which is later removed again) or to separate wanted from unwanted phases (e.g. the french “au jus” method does that). Both procedures don’t apply to cordyceps.

    Cordycepin (3′-deoxyadenosine) has a melting point of 437.9 °F, so it might be stable when boiling it in water or even when carefully stir frying it for any length of time. But we should not forget that science might be missing much in understanding cordyceps better by focusing on singular ingredients, like the cordycepin alone. Cordyceps doesn’t seem to be hard to digest, so using the cooking process for pre-digesting it outside the body previous to consumption as a third possibility doesn’t make sense to me in this case, too.

    That’s why I prefer your raw method. The effects I noticed from eating this miso soup were quite strong and lasting and I can’t explain them from the other ingredients.

    Can’t get your dried whole cordyceps here, looks awesome. Here, I can only find low quality powdered cordyceps sold in fancy plastic jars. When I realized I can get the fresh cordyceps at EUR 4 per 100 grams, I stopped thinking further, bought the fresh one and tried your recipe.

    I bought the book “The Complete Guide to Adaptogens” by Agatha Noveille, it has a cordyceps miso soup recipe that includes astragalus root powder in the same amount as cordyceps to be added to the miso. Also it mentions maceration as a way to increase bioavailability, but with other adaptogens, not the cordyceps. I need to read more in it first I guess, I just skimmed some parts by now.

    When you’re about all things raw here, I should notice I also found out huge differences in miso price and quality. Expensive doesn’t seem to mean good quality. The one I use is imported and relabeled for the german market from Nagano, Japan. It’s sold in screwable glass jars at EUR 5.50 for 220 g. It is made with water, soy beans, rice, salt, yeast and the kōji (Aspergillus oryzae) cultures only and most important: it’s not pasteurized (brand name is complete organics miso).

    It’s by far not the most expensive miso available here, since >35 years a larger japanese community is living around me, including shops. So I have a solid choice of different misos available, but this one is even suitable to be added to raw salads without any cooking involved, and it smells and tastes highly delicious right out of the jar. It is medium dark and it is the best one for my use that I have found so far.

    Many thanks again for your reply and ahead for all the other recipes and articles I found on your site by now. I guess they will accompany me for a while and I am glad I found them.

    Like

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