Of the general food remedies for winter, nothing approaches soup. Soup is warming and makes vegetables and protiens delicious and digestible. At the same time pushing hot fluids in winter keeps mucus membranes and bronchial passages hydrated, while loosening phlegm .

A favorite of mine is Miso Soup, which is made from a base called Miso Paste Good Miso paste is like fine wine. It is a fermented product with lots of health attributes that originated in Japan, the land of longevity, and is made from rice or other grains or beans to which a starter culture has been added. Miso paste is only as good as the producer who makes it.

Miso is an alkalinizing food, and its fermentation aids digestion and metabolism. Simply think of miso as a vegetarian soup base. Different types of miso, depending on the starter and the grains or legumes used in production produce varying tastes. Someday, try them all!

This is a recipe that includes sea vegetables, which are excellent in winter. Winter is associated with the water element and the salty taste; both are characterized by sea veggies. Sea veggies are very high in minerals, aid the thyroid gland, and can help break up phlegm and swellings. Both Kombu and Wakame are used in Chinese Medicine herbal decoctions for chronic infectious lung diseases. Eden Brand or Maine Coast Seaweed Co. are both very reliable sources for sea vegetables, and carried at Whole Foods market and most health food coops.

This recipe also calls for Burdock root, which is a Japanese vegetable also known for its health properties. High in easily digested fiber, it has antibacterial properties making it good for toxic heat in the lungs, skin, and blood. There is more on Burdock in my Cleansing soup post.

The easiest miso soup? Boil water; add miso. Life should be so simple.

This is a soup I made a month or two ago when I had some celery root and scallops on hand. Seafood, like sea veggies, are considered good winter food in Chinese Medicine, strong for strengthening the Kidney Qi associated with vitality, strong bones, and a strong immune system. But drop the fish and your soup becomes vegan.

Chick Pea Miso Soup with Celery Root and Seafood


1 cup scallops or other sea food
1 cup chopped celery root
1 cup chopped burdock root
1/2 cup white, brown, or fresh shitake mushrooms
1 cup small broccoli florets
4″ piece of kombu sea veggie, cut into pieces with a scissor
4″ piece of wakame sea veggie, ditto
1-2 slices ginger root
2-3 chopped scallion
2 quarts water
1 tbsp chick pea miso paste or mellow white if unavailable
1 tbsp sweet white miso paste or more to taste
a dash of white pepper if desired


Bring water to boil and add the root and sea veggies. Cook on a medium high boil until the roots are soft and the wakame has dissolved into beautiful dark pieces. Now add the sea food and mushrooms and cook on a low boil for around 10 minutes depending on the sea food. Cook until almost all done and turn flame down to simmer. Meanwhile, add the miso paste to 4 oz. of water in a cup and stir to make a liquid. Add the broccoli florets, scallion, and miso paste, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve with Buckwheat Soba noodles or just by itself for a low carb alternative.

copyright eyton j. shalom, san diego, 2009 jan, all rights reserved, use with permission.

Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego

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