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Miso Korean Rice Cake Soup

Miso Rice Cake Soup

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I first had rice cakes here in Denver at The Bronze Empire. This is also where I had frozen tofu for the first time. Frozen tofu is used in the Vegan Noodle House Ramen with Tofu recipe, which inspired this spin-off Miso Rice Cake Soup recipe.

The Bronze Empire staff is very knowledgeable about their vegan & vegetarian options. I highly recommend ordering the vegan Sichuan broth for your hot pot. It adds flavor to everything you dip into it, as opposed to a more bland broth, which can taste like eating boiled veggies.

Spin-offs

Are spin-offs ever better than the original? It depends―was Frasier better than Cheers? I think the best spin-offs are as good as the original, but different enough to be their own thing.Like this amazing Miso Rice Cake Soup.

Oh, and you add the Korean rice cakes directly to the pot of soup instead of cooking them in a separate pot of water. The reason I don’t cook the ramen noodles in the pot of soup is because the noodles are more delicate than the rice cakes and they would dissolve in the broth. The rice cakes are sturdy and they also thicken and add creaminess to the soup.

Shopping For Rice Cakes

Oh no, not those 80’s rice cakes that remind everyone of Styrofoam, but Korean rice cakes, which are somewhere between a noodle and a dumpling.

These are still available, which I find a bit surprising
H Mart Where I get the ingredients like tofu, Korean rice cakes and bok choy for Miso Rice Cake Soup

I purchase my rice cakes from H Mart. You can order them from Amazon, but they are unnecessarily expensive. Also, people have left reviews stating that they have received moldy and spoiled rice cakes. If you have a Korean or generally Asian grocery store, I’d go there for rice cakes.

When you shop for Korean rice cakes, check the ingredients. Usually the ingredients are rice, water, and salt. However, I have seen some with lactic acid listed as an ingredient, which is sometimes derived from cow’s milk. Additionally, some contain wheat, which makes them unsuitable for gluten-free eaters.

I purchase the vacuum sealed 1 pound packs and store them in the fridge. To ensure they stay fresh, I open them when I am ready to use them. I use a whole one pound pack in the soup. They are found in the frozen and refrigerated section of the Asian market.

They come in sliced ovals and tubes/sticks.

Sliced Korean Rice Cakes
Tube or stick Korean Rice Cakes

I have used both in this recipe. I prefer the sliced ovals, but it’s almost a tie.

Once you open the bag, pull apart the rice cakes before putting them in the soup. Some might break, it’s fine. It’s gonna be so delicious.

Broth Talk

If I went back in time I would totally tune-in to SNL’s Goth Talk

I strongly recommend finding yourself some vegan no-chicken broths. I much prefer the no-chicken base flavors to regular veggie base flavors. I’ve made things and not liked them because I substituted regular veggie broth instead of my trusted no-chicken varieties. Seeing the word chicken on vegan products tends to fry my brain a little.

For Gluten-Free Certified No-Chicken Base use

I use this stuff when I don’t need a gluten-free certification. I have inquired about whether this is gluten-free and I will update this when I hear back.

Freeze, Thaw & Press The Tofu

Here’s how I prep for recipes using frozen tofu. It’s very easy and uncomplicated.

  1. I put the firm to extra firm water-packed tofu straight into freezer in its original packaging when I’m unloading groceries. The tofu stays in the fridge a minimum of overnight, but longer works too. I’ve got 5 tofu blocks in my freezer right now.
  2. Then I write an “F” on the tofu package and move it to the fridge 2 – 5 days before I am going to use it. I write an F so I know that the tofu has been frozen, not to give it a bad grade. If you want to thaw your tofu and use it out of the freezer, you can do this by leaving it out, placing in a hot water bath or thawing it in the microwave. If you’ve put your tofu into the fridge to thaw and it’s not fully thawed, you may need to use one of the alternative thawing methods.
  3. Once thawed, I remove the tofu from the package and press it in my light, vise-style tofu press. Once you tighten the press, it presses the water out instantly. I set it in the sink. You can let it sit longer if you want, but it is not necessary. I love this tofu press, I went a long time without one. I used to stack cast iron pans on paper towel lined cutting boards and the tofu still didn’t get as squeezed out as I’d wanted.
Using the tofu press

To Cube The Tofu

To make cubes:

Tofu block next to a Zelite knife on a white cutting board

I cut the tofu in half.

cutting tofu block in half

Cut the halves in half.

Cutting tofu block
Cutting tofu block

Slice down the center.

Cutting tofu block

Cut in the middle on each side of the center line.

Cutting tofu block
Flipping one section on its side after cutting in the middle of each side of the center line

Turn each section on its side and cut in half.

Cutting tofu block

Let’s Make Miso Rice Cake Soup

MISO BASE: Make the miso base by blending all Miso Base ingredients in a food processor. You will have leftover Miso Base to make this decadent soup again. You can freeze half of the miso base or keep it in the fridge. After I am finished processing, I put 1 – 1½ cups (half of the total amount) in a storage container, label & date it and put it in the fridge or freezer.

Miso Base ingredients loaded into the food processor
Miso Base ingredients loaded into the food processor
Blended Miso Base in the food processor
Blended Miso Base in the food processor

Press the tofu. You can leave it in the press while you do the next steps.

Carefully, thinly slice the dried mushrooms. If you bought pre-sliced, you can do a light chop on them if you’d like or just break them up with your fingers into smaller pieces.

weighing dried shiitake mashrooms for Miso Rice Cake Soup

Make the broth base in a 5 quart pot (if using no-chicken better than bouillon vegetarian base, add 4 cups hot water to 1 TBSP + 1 teaspoon). Then add one more cup of water.

No-Chicken Broth for Miso Rice Cake Soup in a big pot

Add the sliced shiitake mushrooms to the pot of broth and let simmer. If using bok choy, slice off celery-like bottoms and add to the pot.

Set bok choy leaves aside; you will add them at the end.

If you intend to strain out the mushrooms, wait to add any of the bok choy—strain the mushrooms when you are ready to add the rice cakes and add the bok choy bottoms and the rice cakes together.

Let the mushrooms simmer in the broth at least 10 minutes, the longer the better to get the flavors infused and the shrooms to soften.

No-chicken broth with dried shiitake mushrooms for Miso Rice Cake Soup

TOFU: Heat the earth balance in a pan on medium-high heat and start pan-frying the tofu.

Making tofu for Miso Rice Cake Soup
Making tofu for Miso Rice Cake Soup

Once the tofu has yellowed or turned light golden brown on most sides of the cubes, add 1/3 cup of the spicy miso paste.

Making tofu for Miso Rice Cake Soup

Reduce heat to medium. Coat the tofu and continue pan-searing some more to get a nice amber color. Leave in the hot pan while you finish making the soup.

Place 2/3 cup miso paste into a very fine sieve. You can do this all at once or in two rounds.

Lower the sieve half-way into the simmering broth and use a spoon to press and dissolve the paste into the soup.

adding the miso base to Miso Rice Cake Soup

Discard the solids remaining in the sieve. You do not want to add the Miso Base directly into the soup, it would get gritty.

To make life easier, rinse the sieve before it dries.

Add the rice cakes. I recommend pulling them apart prior to adding them to the soup. Let simmer around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The longer the rice cakes are in the broth, the thicker the soup gets. Wait to add the rice cakes if you are not serving the soup right away. It can literally turn into thick gravy.

Miso Rice Cake Soup with bok choy and Korean rice cakes

Then add almond milk to the miso broth pot.

adding oat milk to Miso Rice Cake Soup

If using roasted broccoli or bok choy leaves, add them to the pot right before serving.

Miso Rice Cake soup with bok choy leaves on top.

TO SERVE: Place soup in bowls, top with your choice of scallions, French’s onions, Thai basil, cilantro and the tofu. Garnish with a few drops of toasted sesame oil or sriracha if desired. If you find the soup is too spicy or too salty, add more water or plant milk.

Miso Rice Cake Soup
Miso Rice Cake Soup
Miso Korean Rice Cake Soup
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5 from 1 vote

Miso Rice Cake Soup

Rich, delicious miso soup with pan-seared tofu and Korean rice cakes
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American, California, Korean, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword Comfort Food, flavorful, hearty, savory
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 557kcal

Equipment

  • Food processor for Miso Base (I use a medium bullet-style) a blender works too
  • Fine sieve to infuse the Miso Base into the broth
  • Pan for searing/pan-frying tofu (I use a 12 inch non-stick)
  • 5 Quart pot
  • Recommended: tofu press

Ingredients

Miso Base

  • 1 onion small, yellow or half of a large onion ~250 grams rough chop, it's going in the food processor
  • ½ cup red miso
  • ½ cup white miso
  • 3 TBSP sambal oelek
  • 2 TBSP garlic I use either jarred minced garlic or ~3 cloves fresh, no need to mince just put the peeled garlic cloves right into the food processor
  • 2 – 3 inches peeled fresh ginger 30 – 40 grams, loose chop
  • 3 TBSP mirin
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha optional

Soup

Toppings & Vegetables

  • ¼ cup sliced scallions more or less
  • ¼ cup Thai basil more or less
  • 2 TBSPs french's fried onions optional, these are not gluten free
  • 1/3 of a whole jalapeño very thinly sliced optional, if you really like some heat
  • a few bunches bok choy, baby bok choy, roasted broccoli or broccolini If using bok choy, put the bottom celery-like part in the broth early and the leaves in the broth at the end.

Instructions

  • MISO BASE: Make the miso base by blending all Miso Base ingredients in a food processor. You will have leftover Miso Base to make this decadent soup again. You can freeze half of the miso base or keep it in the fridge. After I am finished processing, I put 1 – 1½ cups (half of the total amount) in a storage container, label & date it and put it in the fridge or freezer.
  • Press the tofu. You can leave it in the press while you do the next steps.
  • Carefully, thinly slice the dried mushrooms. If you bought pre-sliced, you can do a light chop on them if you'd like or just break them up with your fingers into smaller pieces.
  • Make the broth base in a 5 quart pot (if using no-chicken better than bouillon vegetarian base, add 4 cups hot water to 1 TBSP + 1 teaspoon). Then add one more cup of water.
  • Add the sliced shiitake mushrooms to the pot of broth and let simmer. If using bok choy, slice off celery-like bottoms and add to the pot. Set bok choy leaves aside; you will add them at the end. If you intend to strain out the mushrooms, wait to add any of the bok choy—strain the mushrooms when you are ready to add the rice cakes and add the bok choy bottoms and the rice cakes together.
  • Let the mushrooms simmer in the broth at least 10 minutes, the longer the better to get the flavors infused and the shrooms to soften.
  • TOFU: Heat the earth balance in a pan on medium-high heat and start pan-frying the tofu. Once the tofu has yellowed or turned light golden brown on most sides of the cubes, add 1/3 cup of the spicy miso paste. Reduce heat to medium. Coat the tofu and continue pan-searing some more to get a nice amber color. Leave in the hot pan while you finish making the soup.
  • Place 2/3 cup miso paste into a very fine sieve. You can do this all at once or in two rounds. Lower the sieve half-way into the simmering broth and use a spoon to press and dissolve the paste into the soup. Discard the “solids” remaining in the sieve. You do not want to add the Miso Base directly into the soup, it would be gritty or chunky. To make life easier, rinse the sieve before it dries.
  • RICE CAKES: Add the rice cakes I recommend pulling them apart prior to adding them to the soup. Let simmer around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The longer the rice cakes are in the broth, the thicker the soup gets. Wait to add the rice cakes if you are not serving the soup right away. It can literally turn into thick gravy.
  • Then add plant milk to the miso broth pot. If using roasted broccoli or bok choy leaves, add them to the pot right before serving.
  • TO SERVE: Place soup in bowls, top with your choice of scallions, French's onions, Thai basil, cilantro and the tofu. Garnish with a few drops of toasted sesame oil or sriracha if desired. If you find the soup is too spicy or too salty, add more water or plant milk.

Notes

Nutrition information is approximate 
Pre-sliced Shitakes One thing we did notice about the pre-sliced Shitakes is that some of them, which seemed like the stem bits, don’t hydrate well, even if you leave them in the broth a long time. The mushrooms flavor the broth giving it earthy, umami goodness, so if you are not super into mushrooms, you could strain them out and discard them if desired. I have a friend who hates mushrooms, so if I make this for her I will definitely remove the mushrooms from the broth.
Oat or Almond Milk I use unsweetened, original oat or almond milk. I find it creates the best broth. I’ve made this with unsweetened, original soy milk and the result was a little too thick and more naturally sweet than I would have preferred. Also, make sure that your plant-milk is original flavored and not vanilla because you don’t want vanilla flavored soup.

For Gluten-Free Certified No-Chicken Base Use

Orrington Farms All Natural Vegan Broth Base & Seasoning
www.planttestkitchen.com

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving (recipe serves 4) | Calories: 557kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 1290mg | Potassium: 263mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 259IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 310mg | Iron: 5mg

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Recipe adapted from Vegan Noodle House Ramen with Tofu.

If you enjoyed this recipe you may also enjoy Cheesy Vegan Broccoli Soup, Pan-Seared Vegan Gnocchi With Brussels, Kale, Toasted Walnuts & Garlic Shake, and Vegan Green Bean Casserole.

Did you make Miso Rice Cake Soup?

Was it awesome? Any variations? Will you be making it again? Tell me about it in the comments section below.

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