I love miso soup, but whenever I've made it at home, I've never been able to get the full, deep, rich, complex flavor that I routinely have at my favorite Japanese restaurants. That's because, until recently, I hadn't discovered the secrets of dashi.

Dashi is one of the most basic cooking stocks in Japanese cuisine, and it is the secret to a truly delicious miso soup. Dashi is made by boiling dried kelp (seaweed) and dried bonito fish flakes. You can find numerous kinds of instant dashi at most Asian or Japanese markets. The more dashi you add, the richer the soup will taste.

This miso soup can be made with yellow, white or red miso paste. Yellow miso makes a sweet and creamy soup, while red miso makes a stronger, saltier soup.

The finished miso soup. Photo: Jefferson Adams