The Pantry Ingredient That Will Revolutionize Your Potato Chip Dip

Potato chips and dip are a match made in snacking heaven, and have been a part of the American diet since rising to popularity in the 1950s. This was largely thanks to an advertising campaign by Lipton, which introduced the idea of using their dehydrated French onion soup mix to make homemade dip. Over the years, both components have evolved somewhat (while dips were initially made from a cream cheese or sour cream base, a la the Lipton recipe, snackers around the country now readily enjoy guacamole, salsa, hummus, and tzatziki amongst other offerings), but through it all, one thing has remained the same — the U.S. sure has a healthy appetite for this delicious duo.

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However, if you've exhausted your current arsenal of delicious dip recipes and want to try something different, per Lifehacker, try adding some instant miso soup to the mix. Making a dip from miso certainly isn't a new concept, as its distinct umami (meaning "pleasant, savory taste" in Japanese) flavor pairs perfectly with the saltiness of potato chips. However, many of these versions call for miso in the form of a paste, rather than a powdered soup — which historically works well in dip. 

Why instant miso soup is an innovative dip ingredient

Instant miso soup is exactly what its name suggests — soup that can be made in an instant! The powdered form comes in one or two parts: A sachet containing the powdered miso base and sometimes an additional packet containing freeze-dried foods like vegetables, tofu, and wakame (a type of edible seaweed), which are then rehydrated with boiling water to create a steaming hot bowl of soupy magic. In addition to the fermented soybeans, many soup mix powders also include green onions and powdered bonito (pulverized smoked and dried tuna). Because they're dehydrated, these ingredients are all super concentrated in flavor, and that boldness will give your dip a major boost.

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Miso is a fermented paste made from soybeans, salt, and koji (a type of mold typically derived from rice that enhances flavor), resulting in a rich, earthy, and intensely savory flavor that has long been used in Japanese cooking. Over time, it has taken on some surprising uses including in instant mashed potatoes, pasta dishes like buttered noodles, and even baking. Adding miso to your next bowl of dip, albeit in instant soup form, therefore, makes plenty of sense. Another reason why instant miso soup makes such a great addition is the fact that for many people, it's a pantry staple, while, like other instant soup, it also has a considerably long shelf life (some brands can be stored for several years).

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Tips for making instant miso soup dip

Making a bowl of instant miso soup dip couldn't be easier — all you have to do is add the sachet of powdered soup (and the sachet of additional ingredients, if applicable) to your base of choice. It's recommended that you mix the soup sachet through first, before adding the second sachet and mixing again. (Alternatively, if you don't have powdered miso soup on hand or can't find it at the shops, you can always use regular miso paste loosened with a little water. Just be sure to taste as you go.)

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As for the base itself, sour cream or Greek yogurt will work best, but plain unsweetened yogurt would also do the trick. You might even like to fold through some mayonnaise. Pricier or harder-to-find ingredients like labneh could work, too. Meanwhile, if you want to veer away from the traditional dip tropes altogether, you could try experimenting with hummus or avocado, both of which have a creamy quality that's well suited to miso's unique umami flavor. 

To really add some extra oomph to your dip, don't hold back on the toppings. Keep on theme by adding nori (another form of edible seaweed) powder, crumbled nori sheets, or nori chips if you have them (these could also be served on the side, in addition to potato chips). Garlic flakes, black sesame seeds and fried shallots are some other tasty ideas. Now all that's left to do is dig in!

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