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Japanese Onion Soup Vs. Miso Soup

Served at the start of the meal, soups are a huge part of traditional Japanese cuisine. 

Even at hibachi restaurants worldwide, these soups are traditionally served in small bowls which are held in both hands to drink.

The light soup that is often served at hibachi restaurants can be known by many names including Japanese onion soup.

Another popular light textured soup that may be served at the start of the meal is the Miso soup.

These two soups may look quite alike, but they are made from different ingredients and have different flavors.

In this post, we’ll quickly take a look at these two soups and highlight what makes them different. 

Difference between miso soup and onion soup

Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup that is made from miso paste that is mixed into dashi stock. It may also feature a variety of toppings including vegetables 

Onion soup is typically made by simmering meats and vegetables in broth, and then straining the soup to remove all the solids in the soups 

The flavor of clear soup is delicate while miso soup has a more intense flavor and also a slightly thicker texture than the miso soup.

Japanese onion soup characteristics

Japanese onion soup goes by many names, more popularly it is known as clear soup.

It is a light textured soup that is made from meat broth and vegetables. It can also be made with dashi stock.

The meats and vegetables are strained leaving behind the clear soup.

This soup may also feature bite sized ingredients which are used as garnish.

It can also be garnished with mushrooms.

This soup is typically served as an appetizer at hibachi restaurants. It is an easy and affordable dish to make. 

Salt, pepper, yuzu or lemon peel can be added to this soup as seasoning.

The flavor is delicate and come from the stock, and other ingredients such as the seasoning that is used to make this soup.

Miso soup characteristics

It is a popular soup in traditional Japanese cuisine. 

There are so many regional and seasonal variations of this dish, and even among regional recipes, there may variations from cook to cook.

Miso soup is made from miso paste mixed into dashi stock and could contain a variety of toppings. 

The dashi stock is made with kombu and bonito flakes. 

Miso paste is a fermented paste used as a traditional Japanese seasoning.

It is made by fermenting soybeans together with salt and a fungus “Aspergillus oryzae.”

Toppings are also very popular in miso soup. 

The toppings may include vegetables, mushrooms, seafoods. 

The soup contains a wide variety of ingredients, each with contrasting flavors and textures. 

Miso soup could be served as an appetizer and eaten on its own. Japanese restaurants often serve miso soup at the beginning of a meal. 

Apart from can also be served alongside other dishes. Miso soup and white rice are commonly eaten for breakfast. 

Miso paste

The different varieties of miso paste may have contrasting color, texture, and flavor. 

The type of miso paste used in the miso soup determines the flavor profile of the soup.

Miso soups made with miso paste that has been fermented for a shorter period of time would have a lighter, sweeter flavor, while miso paste with a longer duration of fermentation would give the miso soup a deeper flavor. 

The vegetables are cooked in simmering dashi separate from the miso paste.

Cooking alters the flavor of the miso paste; hence it is suspended in a dashi stock separate from the dashi with vegetables.

When the stock with the vegetables is removed from heat. The miso paste is mixed into the soup.