The digestive fire known as agni in Ayurveda is our cornerstone to good health. During seasonal shifts it is not uncommon to notice our appetite waning or some of our favorite foods causing some mild indigestion. To keep our digestive powers and immunity strong in this article we look to the Far East and the magic of miso or fermented soybeans for good health for the season.
In many cultures throughout the world a meal begins or is accompanied by a fermented food or drink. In Korea there is kimchi, in Eastern Europe sauerkraut is a common staple. In the Indian sub-continent there are different forms of soured milk known as a dahi or lassi and other such names depending on the region you are in and in Japan rarely does a meal go by without soy sauce, pickled vegetables and miso. Many of these foods were made first for necessity, to preserve foods from spoiling, but it is recognized by both health experts and gourmands that a small amount of some fermented food aids digestion. This is especially the case when one consumes rich heavy foods (winter foods) so do yourself and your family a favor and make some miso soup this month (recipe below) to keep the fire strong. Cheers to your agni!
6 C or Vegetable stock
1/8 C of ginger root julienned
1 sheet of kombu
1 cup of miso paste (white or yellow)
1/2 lb of tofu cubed (optional)
1/8 sheet of wakame
3 scallions chopped
In a stock pot combine 6 cups of fresh veggie stock, ginger and kombu. Add a dash of turmeric for added flavor and health benefits (more on turmeric next time!) Let the mixture simmer for 20 minutes and then strain the kombu and ginger.
Mix together the miso and 1 C of water. Add the miso mix to the broth and stir. Gently turn up the heat being careful not to boil. Stir in the tofu.
Serve and garnish with scallions. Enjoy!
Kristen Rae Stevens B.F.A, E-RYT Herbalist, Ayurvedic Consultant, Educator and Practitioner