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Delicious Miso Soup with Chicken (Gluten-Free)

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 AdamsIngredients:
1/2 to 1 small chicken breast (about 2 to 4 ounces), cut into bite sized pieces
2 teaspoons dashi granules
4 cups water
3 tablespoons miso paste
1 (8 ounce) package medium or silken tofu, diced
1 tablespoon dried seaweed (optional)
2 green onions, sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces
2 strips lemon peel, thinly sliced

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine dashi granules and water.

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Add chicken and bring to a boil. Skim any foam that accumulates as chicken cooks.

Reduce heat to simmer. Add seaweed. Stir in tofu.

Separate the layers of the green onions, and add them to the soup.

Simmer gently for 2 to 3 minutes and gently dissolve the miso paste into the liquid.

Serve in small bowls. Garnish with lemon rind. welcomes your comments below (registration is NOT required).

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10 Responses:

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said this on
27 Feb 2012 12:42:28 PM PST
The starter culture for miso can be grown on gluten grains. It is then removed from the grains so they technically are not an ingredient and not listed on the label. To obtain information, one has to contact the manufacturer and ask about the koji(starter culture). Kome(rice) koji is desireable for Celiacs since the starter culture is grown on rice.

( Author)
said this on
29 Feb 2012 3:54:08 PM PST
I've heard this for years but it is a bit like the blue cheese myth...I've always eaten miso and have never had an wife makes it regularly. We need more here than this same old rumor...sorry!

Lynne Whaley
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said this on
27 Feb 2012 3:45:56 PM PST
GLUTEN ALERT: Miso is made from many grains and beans, and it can contain BARLEY, RYE and/or WHEAT! Make sure that the miso you use is not a mixed type, but the soy based miso!

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said this on
06 Oct 2014 5:20:50 PM PST
This article refers only to miso made from soy.

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said this on
28 Feb 2012 10:43:45 PM PST
My understanding is that miso is not gluten free as it is all made in facilities that process barley (some varieties of miso contain barley). I've never found a miso that says it is gluten free and I've even called some manufacturers to check. If anyone knows of a truly gluten free miso, I'd love to know. My celiac child really misses it.

( Author)
said this on
29 Feb 2012 3:36:59 PM PST
Miso is soy-based and most varieties are gluten-free. We've not seen on that contains barley, but check the ingredients!

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said this on
03 Mar 2012 5:40:41 PM PST
South River Miso has a good series on their website that explains how miso is made and that the starter culture can contain barley. I wasn't able to post a link in the comments. I have researched this in Japanese and English and contacted companies. I have also made my own miso at home using purchased starter culture grown on rice, where it comes as grains of rice innoculated with the spores. There is one variety of miso that contains barley as an ingredient in the finished product, but it is rarely found outside of Japan. However the starter culture can still be grown on barley even if barley itself is not intentionally included in the finished product. As always please, don't just take any one person's word, each one of us must do our own due diligence and ask questions of manufacturers.

( Author)
said this on
06 Mar 2012 12:22:25 PM PST
A starter culture that contains barley does not mean that the end product contains gluten. For example sour dough bread studies have indicated that the fermentation process in actual wheat grain-based bread can eliminate the gluten in bread. Again, I don't recommend this to anyone, but you can read the science here:

Since miso is also highly fermented I suspect that it would likely test gluten-free as well, due to the same reason, although this theory should be tested. Again, I've always eaten miso and never had an issue with it.

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said this on
05 Apr 2012 10:57:53 PM PST
Appreciate all the discussion and insights for my celiac daughter who loves miso soup.

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said this on
10 Feb 2017 5:39:09 AM PST
Most Asian pastes/sauces (even sake) requiring a fermentation process with [Aspergillus oryzae/Koji] are almost always dealing with a gluten containing starter because its cheaper. You cant assume because its not listed as an ingredient that it was not present at one time in the production of the item. Technically they scraped, filtered, funneled the bulk of the fermentation starter away - but there is no magical process to remove gluten from any product once its gotten into it. Always be leery and look for a gluten free symbol because at least they made sure there´s never more than a certain amount of gluten in the product.

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