Yam Miso Soup – An Enigmatic and Homely Soup for the Lazy

Yam Miso SoupI have to admit, this is one of the least attractive soups that I know how to make.  I mean, there really is no feasible way to get a decent photo of it, as it looks equally bad in most lighting.  Seeing it in real life isn’t much of an improvement; it just sits there looking vaguely orange.  It is just plain homely.

As it turns out, life is not always about looks, which should be comforting to most of us.  Sometimes it is about things like bright, clean flavors and smooth, creamy textures.  Sometimes, it is also about being too lazy to make a proper meal.  If any of the above fits your way of thinking, this soup is probably a great match.

I am a little unclear where this soup originated, as it doesn’t seem to resemble anything in our cookbooks; it is almost as though it sprang into the world from Brinn’s mind, fully formed.  It is probably a derivative of potato-miso soup, just without the kelp.  In all seriousness, we eat this soup a lot.  In addition to being very quick and easy to prepare, it has a delightful creamy texture, a clean bright taste, and is best described by the things to which it is not similar.  Not like a cream soup…not like a broth…not really similar to a standard miso soup.  It is probably most similar to a thin tomato soup, although I really don’t know why it should be.  It manages to be satisfying and filling without having much in the way of calorie count.

This is a dashi-based soup, so if you don’t know how to make it dashi, read this article.  Making the soup is simple, especially if you have dashi in the refrigerator  and have cooked the yam in advance, two common situations in our kitchen.  Just purée the yam, miso, and sake together with some dashi, combine the purée with the remaining dashi, bring everything to a boil and pour the resultant broth over some greens and the prawns.  Using aka, or red miso results in a sharp, robust flavor, but other types of miso will likely do in a pinch.


Yam Miso Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Japanese
Serves: 2 to 3
  • 3 cups dashi (sea stock)
  • 1 small to medium yam (garnet, preferably)
  • 2 Tbs. aka (red) miso
  • 1 Tbs. sake
  • 1 cup spinach, rough cut
  • 3 large cooked prawns per bowl
  1. Cut the yam into large chunks and, boil in a medium sauce pan until softened. Drain and rinse with cold water until cool enough to handle. Peel the skin off the yam pieces and set aside.
  2. Puree the yam together with the miso, sake, and about 1 cup of the dashi.
  3. Combine the yam-miso purée with the remaining dashi and, in a medium sauce pan, bring briefly to a boil.
  4. While soup is heating, arrange spinach and cooked prawns in your serving bowls. Add the heated broth and serve.


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