Besides being delicious, miso soup is, basically, food for ninjas. Super powered, stealthy, ninjas. Ninjas can’t afford to mess with their health, and so they play it safe. With miso. Everyday (or almost).
Miso is a fermented food. That means that it’s full of beneficial bacterias that help your digestive tract function at optimum. A ninja can’t afford to be running to the washroom, or be completely backed up and unable to perform his/her bendy and flexible ninja moves. Miso = healthy bacteria = happy intestines!
When your digestion is strong, your immune system is strengthened. Ever hear a ninja sneeze or cough? Didn’t think so.
Miso contains lots of vitamins, proteins and minerals, and helps to alkalinize your blood. Your body doesn’t function as well as it can if your blood is too acidic. In fact, most of the big bad colds, infections and diseases thrive in an acidic environment. Ninjas take help when they need it. In the form of miso.
Not all miso is created equal. The miso you get at a restaurant is likely full of MSG and other chemicals, and has not been aged for the same time as a traditional miso- which means that it is not going to have the same health benefits as the miso soup you make at home. Look for a miso that contains as few ingredients as possible. They will often contain some form of bean, grain, salt and koji. Also, look for miso that has been aged for at least 2 – 3 years. You don’t become a ninja overnight. It’s the same for ninja quality food.
Typically barley miso is used most often, but there are a ton of other choices out there. Brown Rice, Sweet Brown Rice, Chickpea, Aduki Bean, Dandelion Leek, Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic… There are also the white and red miso’s which haven’t been aged for a very long time, and although they don’t have the same healthful benefits of an aged miso, they make for a nice variety in flavours for soups, stocks, sauces and other condiments. Ninjas know that variety is the spice of life.
Never underestimate the power of a ninja. Or ninja food. 1/2 – 1 tsp of miso per cup of liquid is plenty. Also, if making sauces or dips using miso, it is best to first dilute the miso and cook on low for a minute or two, to help lighten the effects of miso.
Last true fact: Ninjas chew their soup. For tips on chewing miso and other soups, check out this post.