Autumn Herb Recipe
Miso & Shiitake Mushroom Soup
by Laura Stropes, L.Ac.
According to Chinese medicine, Miso is neutral to cool, sweet and salty in nature, promotes Blood circulation and regulates the water passageways, detoxifies, nourishes Yin and tonifies the Spleen and Kidney.
In western terms, Miso is rich in digestive enzymes, friendly bacteria, easily assimilated protein, vitamins, minerals and salts, yet low in calories and fat. Miso greatly aids digestion and assimilation because it contains living enzymes and beneficial microorganisms, such as Lactobacillus and Tetragenococcus halophilus. It also contains all the essential amino acids and is a great source of B 12, making it a complete protein comparable to meat. Gram per gram it actually contains twice as much protein as meat or fish and eleven times more than milk. Miso is an alkaline forming substance, which helps prevent acidosis and increases resistance to disease. It is a very good source of manganese and copper, a good source of zinc (all three important mineral antioxidants) and a very good source of phosphorus.
In addition to these conventional nutrients, miso is also an important source of phytonutrient antioxidants including phenolic acids like ferulic, coumaric, syringic, vanillic, and kojic acid, as well as dipilocolonic acid, an alkaloid that chelates heavy metals and discharges them from the body. Therefore miso reduces the detrimental effects of environmental toxins such as air pollution, cigarette smoke, pesticide residues, toxins from chemotherapy and radiation treatments, as well as non-ionizing radiation (ELFs and EMFs) given off and encountered every day from power lines, transformers, electrical stations, computers, mobile phones, hair dryers, LEDs, microwave ovens, etc.
Shiitake mushrooms are neutral, resolve phlegm, nourish and support the immune system and the cardiovascular system. They contain beta-1, 3-D-glucan, a polysaccharide that stimulates the immune cells, and are particularly rich in antioxidant minerals.
- 1-2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil (optionally infused with a few drops of roasted sesame oil)
- 2-4 cloves finely chopped garlic
- 1 chopped onion
- ½ cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 3-4 inches chopped burdock root
- 3-4 inches chopped daikon radish
- 2 finely chopped carrots
- 1 peeled and chopped sweet potato
- 1 peeled and chopped beet
- 4 cups water or vegetable stock
- 3-6 tablespoons red or brown miso paste to taste
- 1 bunch kale with stems removed and finely chopped
- Serve garnished with a sprinkling of gomashio (Japanese sesame salt seasoning) and seaweed or kelp (Wakame or Kombu are good choices)
- Cut all vegetables into thin slices or 1 inch chunks.
- Melt coconut oil or warm olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Sauté garlic and onions for 5 minutes, or until translucent and slightly browned.
- Add shiitake mushrooms, burdock, daikon, carrot, sweet potato and beet; sauté another 5-10 minutes.
- Add water or vegetable stock, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add kale and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
- In the meantime, take out a ½ to 1 cup of broth and allow to cool for a couple minutes, blend with miso paste in a bowl until it is a dense liquid.
- Take soup off burner and allow to cool for a few minutes, add miso to soup, blend well.
- Serve garnished with a sprinkling of gomashio and seaweed.