Provenance of Dish
If soup can heal, this is the one to do it. Miso, garlic, and ginger make a clean and aromatic broth that instantly tastes and feels like the boost you needed (even when you didn’t realize you needed one). With daikon radish, spinach, oyster mushrooms, and udon or soba noodles, the soup is as delicious as it is healthy. Watermelon radish, sliced avocado, and black sesame seeds get credit for color, texture, and combined aesthetics—equally powerful stuff.
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 piece (1-inch long) fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons white miso
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce, plus extra as needed
1/2 large daikon radish, peeled and sliced into
1/4-inch-thick half-moons (about 8 ounces total)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus extra as needed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra as needed
3 ounces oyster mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced (about 1 cup; see Note)
4 ounces udon or soba noodles
4 cups chopped spinach, tatsoi, or bok choy leaves (optional)
1/2 large watermelon radish, halved and sliced into
1∕16-inch-thick half-moons with a mandoline (about 8 ounces total), for serving
1 avocado, pitted and sliced, for serving
Toasted black or white sesame seeds, for serving
Heat the sesame oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft but not brown at all, 3 to 4 minutes.
Whisk together the miso and 1 cup of water in a 2-cup liquid measure until the miso dissolves. Add it to the pot along with 8 cups of water and the tamari, daikon, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer, partially covered, until the daikon begins to soften, 4 to 5 minutes.
Stir in the mushrooms and noodles. Turn up the heat to medium-high and cook until the noodles are just tender, 5 to 7 minutes (or according to
the noodle package instructions). Stir in the spinach, if you are adding it, and let simmer until it just wilts.
Season with more tamari, salt, and pepper if needed. Fill individual bowls with the soup and top each with the sliced watermelon radishes, sliced avocado, and a sprinkle of the toasted sesame seeds.
Note: Oyster mushrooms are my top pick here, but nameko or enoki mushrooms are also great. Nameko are traditional in miso soup and will thicken it slightly. Trim their hard ends, just at the point where the stems give. Skinny enoki mushrooms provide mild flavor and require trimming at the end of a cluster to separate them. If you use enoki, add them toward the very end and simmer them only for a couple of minutes. Shiitakes are delicious here, too, adding rich flavor.