Chunky goma miso soup with kabocha pumpkin



Miso soup is my favourite Japanese comfort food. It is so versatile and makes it so easy to many great-tasting and healthy meals loaded with vegetables!  Nowadays, it is not only a staple in Japan but also quite popular in other countries.  Recently, I was on an Air France flight from Paris to Tokyo, and hot miso shiru was offered with the dinner!

Basically, you really can add almost anything (within common sense) to miso soup to make your favourite chunky soup meal. Tonight, stuck home with a typhoon, I set about making the ultimate chunky miso soup with some vegetables in season.  I added some goma (sesame) paste. The result is a creamy broth which tastes very nourishing and soothing.  I added minced chicken, but it can be omitted for a vegetarian version.

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 1/4 cabbage
  • 1/4 kabocha pumpkin
  • 1 carrot
  • 150 g minced chicken
  • 1000 mL water
  • 1 teaspoon chicken broth powder
  • 2 tablespoons sesame paste (tahini)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of miso paste
  • hot chili oil to taste
  • salt to taste


  1. Cut cabbage into bite-sized pieces. Cut kabocha pumpkin and carrots into bite-sized chunks.
  2. In a heavy pot such as a cocotte, add water, cabbage, kabocha pumpkin and chicken broth powder. Heat over medium-high heat until boiling, then lower heat to low-medium, and add minced chicken. Make sure that the minced chicken does not form chunks by stirring constantly with chopsticks after adding the chicken, until the chicken separates nicely into small pieces.
  3. When the carrot and cabbage becomes soft, add kabocha pumpkin and continue to simmer over low-medium heat, with the lid on, for about 10 – 15 minutes. Test the kabocha pumpkin by poking the middle of a chunk with one chopstick. If you can poke through it, then it is ready.
  4. Turn off heat. Put miso in a soup ladle, and lower into soup. Whisk the miso into the soup with chopsticks. Do the same with the tahini. Taste and add a little bit of salt if necessary (usually the stock and the miso make the soup flavorful enough).
  5. Hot chili oil is optional but I find that adding a little (1/2 teaspoon ) enhances the flavors even more.

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