Easy Miso Fish Soup with Soba
Easy Miso Fish Soup with Soba

Welcome to our new series of Cooking for Two! This recipe, and all recipes in this series, are designed to serve two grown-ups without leftovers. We hope you enjoy!

You’d think, as a food writer, I’d have all the time in the world to get supper on the table. But after a full day of planning, shopping, photographing, or perfecting the ultimate chocolate cake recipe, I am often at my wit’s end to come up with something good to eat when dinnertime comes around.

Not anymore! Enter this quick and easy fish soup with miso and soba noodles. I simmered pieces of lean white fish fillets in a slurp-worthy broth brimming with vegetables, soba noodles, and bright green herbs. Add to that the fact that dinner is ready in less than 25 minutes, and I’m in weeknight dining heaven.

So this one is for you, dear work-weary folks out there! This filling meal-in-one soup will restore you, and yes, you will feel virtuous for keeping that urge to speed-dial for pizza in check.

SECRET INGREDIENT FOR GREAT FISH SOUP

Here’s a secret I learned years ago from my French-chef mentor: You don’t always have to use fish stock (or bottled clam juice) when making a fish soup! (Though, if you have it feel free to use it in this recipe.)

What’s the secret ingredient in this soup? Chicken stock! Counterintuitive? Yes! Delicious? Yes again! The flavor of the fish plus miso, paired with chicken stock, makes an incredibly flavorful broth.

WHAT IS MISO?

Miso is a Japanese condiment (paste) made from fermented soybeans and grains (usually barley or rice) and is considered to be one of the best ingredients to achieve umami, the fifth basic taste (alongside sweet, sour, salty and bitter).

Umami is often described as ‘delicious savoriness’ and though that may not tell you very much, trust me: You will love it! It is salty, sometimes called meaty, and amplifies the flavors it is paired with.

White miso is mellow and a little sweet and really makes the broth in this soup pop. Yellow and red miso are stronger and saltier, respectively. You could still use them, but if you happen to have white miso, its gentle flavor goes well here.

Once opened, a jar or tub of miso keeps in the fridge for up to a year, so if you are not familiar with it, you can buy a small amount and have plenty of time to play around with it in marinades or salad dressings. You should be able to find it in most grocery stores that carry Asian ingredients. It’s usually in the refrigerated section.

THE BEST FISH FOR FISH SOUP

I usually defer to Atlantic Ocean fish because I live on the east coast. The day I shopped, however, tilapia was the only fish available and it was delicious in this recipe; the pieces were firm enough to hold their shape in cooking and not overpoweringly fishy.

Firm white fish fillets are best for this soup. Those listed below are all essentially interchangeable in this recipe.

  • Atlantic cod
  • Halibut
  • Tilapia
  • Flounder
  • Sole

But wait, there’s more! I liked this soup so much that I made it with leftover shredded chicken one night and on another night I cooked some peeled shrimp in the broth for just a few minutes. Tofu would be a good option, too.

The Best Noodles for this Soup

I love the earthy flavor of Soba (buckwheat) noodles in this soup and the fact that they cook in just a few minutes is a bonus. Be careful not to overcook them (they turn mushy quickly!) and rinse off the surface starch as soon as you drain them.

You could use pretty much any noodles you like here, although I think Asian noodles like ramen, rice noodles or glass noodles would be the best choices. They are available in most supermarkets that stock Asian ingredients.

Make-Ahead Tips for Miso Fish Soup

You could cook the noodles and toss them in the sesame oil, cut the fish, and make the broth ahead and stash them each in the fridge separately so you could proceed with the recipe in short order.

However, this one is so fast, it makes more sense to OHIO (Only Handle It Once)!

MORE GREAT FISH RECIPES

  • Fish Chowder
  • Brazilian Salmon Stew
  • Fish Stew with Ginger and Tomatoes
  • Quick and Easy Fish Stew
  • New England Cioppino

Ingredients

  • 8 to 12 ounces white fish fillets, such sole, cod, or tilapia
  • 3 ounces dried soba noodles
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons white miso
  • 6 shiitake or cremini mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) sugar snap peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen, shelled edamame, defrosted or frozen
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

For garnish:

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

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