Miso soup (味噌汁, misoshiru) is a traditional Japanese soup consisting of a stock called "dashi" into which is mixed softened miso paste. Although the suspension of miso paste into dashi is the only characteristic that actually defines miso soup, many other ingredients are added depending on regional and seasonal recipes, and personal preference.
The flavor and texture of miso soup is determined mainly by the variety of miso paste, that can be white, red or mixed. Miso paste can take different colors based on how strong the mixture is, ranging from white to brown.
For the Japanese, miso soup represents a culinary staple, that is prepared by mixing soybeans with rice or barley and adding salt and yeast. This composition is then put in cedar wood vats wooden barrels and kept there for a period of up to three years. It represents a blend of miso paste, carrots, onions, seaweed, and water.
Miso soup represents a high-protein, vegetarian mixture that is made by fermenting soybeans. It has a rich and tangy taste and it helps in preventing breast cancer.
Outside Japan, American or European style miso soup is sometimes made by dissolving miso in a Western vegetable stock.
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Miso soup, en.wikipedia.org
What Is Miso Soup?, www.wisegeek.com
Miso Soup, www.tokyotopia.com