A week of miso soup, day 2: Potato and wakame seaweed


Potato and wakame seaweed is a classic combination, but one that you rarely if ever see on a restaurant menu. I think the reason for this is that restaurants generally cook a huge pot of miso soup in advance, and if you keep simmering potato, it will just fall apart. In any case potato-wakame is one of my favorite miso soups, and depending on the amount of potato you put in, it can be quite filling. I really like it for breakfast, sometimes just on its own.

Wakame is a very versatile seaweed that can be used in salads or soups.You'll see it often as a garnish for sashimi. It's sold in two forms - preserved in salt, or dehydrated. For occasional use, I would recommend dehydrated wakame (often labeled fueru wakame), which is a lot easier to use than the salted kind. Just be careful not to use too much - a little really goes a long way.

Note: if you happen to have some wakame garnish from a takeout sashimi, you can use that for the soup provided that it hasn't been sitting next to raw fish for an extended period. A lot of people find cooked wakame easier to eat than wakame in salads and garnishes. So, if you find yourself always throwing away the garnish, just set it aside as soon as you get your sashimi and put it in the fridge to make a soup. Or - make a soup to accompany your meal!

Potato and wakame seasweed miso soup (jagaimo to wakame no misoshiru

  • 4 cups of dashi stock
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 Tbs. dehydrated wakame
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup white miso

Prepare the dashi stock following the instructions for Day 1.

Peel the potatoes and cut into small pieces. Put in the dashi stock, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on how big your pieces are.

When the potatoes are done, add the 1 tablespoon of dried wakame and stir. It will expand very quickly. Simmer for an additional 3-5 minutes.

Add the miso to the soup. Serve immediately.

Filed under:  japanese soup potatoes seaweed

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Hi Maki,

I think that since you changed the format of your site, you're no longer listed on Food Porn Watch. At least I can't seem to find you there. You might want to look into it.

I know...I tried emailing the foodpornwatch guy, but so far no response at all. I will try again I suppose...

I prefer the salted wakame - mainly because it's fresher - but I have to watch out when rinsing it in cold water. Too much and it gets all slimy and icky and develops this really weird taste. Any ideas on how to prevent that from developing, Maki? I've used hot water to rinse before, and it seems to do the trick, but just wondering. Thanks. =)

Kevin, that sliminess is supposed to be very good for you - it's called fukoidan in Japan (not sure what the English equivalent is) and it's touted as having all kinds of health benefits.

But anyway, to cut down on the sliminess, rinsing in hot water would work - though that rinses all the fukoidan away. Try rinsing it as briefly as possible in very cold water - just to wash off the salt and no more. The more sturdier (more expsnsive) kinds don't turn slimy so quickly.

Using wakame in soup also washes off the sliminess, which dissolves into the soup. Using a vinegar based dressing on it also seems to cut down the slimy texture. Dried wakame seems to get slimy less quickly compared to the salted kind too.

I hope one of those ideas will work for you!

Thanks a lot maki. I guess I'll eat it slimy and all from now on - health over texture anyday!

I usually use dried wakame seaweed. However, the instructions on the packet says to soak it first. Can I cook that directly in the boiling soup without pre-soaking it first?

Old-style wakame needed to be presoaked, but most wakame these days, especially the type that's cut up and ready to go, doesn't need soaking before putting into soup. (It does need some soaking if you're using it for salads and so on.)

FYI - only some kinds of potatoes fall apart when overboiled. For instance, red potatoes can be boiled until "kingdom-come", and they'll still be somewhat firm.

Fingerlings hold their shape, as well.

Regarding your comment on miso soup:

Don't wash that off - that is full of umami! Some instructions may tell you to wipe off dirt from the konbu, but to be honest I haven't seen konbu with dirt on it for years, especially not on the dried, pre-packaged kind you are likely to find. If you taste it you will see that it is sort of like a much subtler version of MSG (monosodium glutamate) - not surprising, since MSG is actually chemically isolated umami.

I want to ask more about the MSG since I've heard how bad it is for us. Isn't this harmful? And if so is there a way to circumvent this? What kind of miso is used in your generic japanese restaurant?? And hope you are well. I have a 20 year old son in Tokyo right now. I kind of wish he'd come home.
Mary from Stamford, CT

My understanding -- and I could be wrong -- is that the main problem in MSG (unless you're allergic to it) is the sodium content. Kombu contains glutamic acid, not MSG as such.

Just recently discovered your site--I love it. I have kombu, wakame, miso, many Asian ingredients and spices. My question, I'm embarrassed to admit, is that I've had a package of organic shiro misu, opened, in the fridge for about two years! It looks good (it's darker, I think), and smells good (smells yummy, in fact,) and I'm thinking that because it's a fermented product, it's okay. I originally used it for some sort of fish soup, which was very good, but I just haven't got back to it. I've had the top rolled down and clipped. What do you think?

I liked the Day 1 recipe, but this one is even better. Substituting white miso for red gives a more delicate flavor. I cut this recipe in half and ate it all for breakfast.

Wakame is a very versatile seaweed that can be used in salads or soups.You'll see it often as a garnish for sashimi. It's sold in two forms - preserved in salt, or dehydrated. loans no credit check