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Although I have got a lot of books about Japanese food, most of them are too daunting to be cooked from. This is not the case with Harumi Kurihar's books, which are grounded, inviting and inspiring and full of food that belongs at home rather than at an upscale sushi bar. This recipe from Everyday Harumi, for Miso Soup with Sesame and Tofu, is a comforting case in point.  

Simple Japapese Food for Family and Friends

by Harumi Kurihara (Conran Octopus, 2009)

Miso Soup with Sesame and Tofu

My mother taught me how to make this fantastic soup.  She showed me how to grind the toasted sesame seeds into a wonderful paste, and advised me to break the tofu into pieces by hand instead of cutting with a knife, saying that this added to the enjoyment and flavour of the soup.  Not only is the soup a beautiful colour but it is also very healthy and has a lovely aroma.  It is a good soup to have at any time of the day, even at breakfast.  If you can find sansho leaf in spring time, I like to use it as a garnish - put it on top just before serving, to give it a real taste of spring.



Serves 4

  • 100g toasted sesame seeds, plus extra to garnish
  • 800ml dashi stock
  • 300g soft/silken tofu, drained
  • 4-5 tablespoons awase miso
  • sansho leaf or finely sliced spring onions - to garnish



  1. Grind the toasted sesame seeds in a mortar with a pestle until they become sticky, almost like a paste.
  2. Heat the dashi stock in a saucepan.  Before it comes to the boil, add the drained tofu, tearing it into pieces before adding.
  3. Gradually add the miso, stirring until completely dissolved.
  4. Add the sesame paste to the soup and stir in well.
  5. Bring almost to the boil then remove from the heat.  Serve sprinkled with some ground sesame seeds and, if available a sansho leaf or some finely sliced spring onions.