Miso Soup 味噌汁

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Miso Soup Recipe | JustOneCookbook.com

Miso Soup (味噌汁) is a traditional Japanese soup consisting of seafood based stock called dashi and miso paste. Most Japanese meals are served with a bowl of miso soup and steamed rice. Although there are many different kinds of ingredients that can be added to miso soup, today I will share the most basic miso soup recipe which include just tofu, wakame (seaweed), and green onion.

Miso Soup | JustOneCookbook.comMiso paste varies in saltiness depending on type (e.g. red/aka miso, white/shiro miso, mixed/awase miso) and by brand, therefore you will need to adjust the proper amount of miso based on your preference.

For dashi, I typically use dashi packets but they may be difficult to find in your local Asian/Japanese supermarkets. No worries, I also have an easy step-by-step tutorial for how to make homemade dashi from scratch. The ingredients for the homemade stock such as dashi kombu and katsuobushi (bonito flakes) are usually available in most Japanese and Asian grocery stores. The Japanese cooking requires dashi for cooking many recipes. Dashi is very simple and easy to make compared to chicken or vegetable stocks.

I hope you enjoy this quick and easy homemade miso soup!

Miso Soup | JustOneCookbook.com

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Miso Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • 3 cups homemade dashi or see how to make quick dashi below (use Kombu Dashi for vegetarian)
  • 3 Tbsp. miso (I use awase miso (red+ white miso))
  • 6 oz silken tofu or soft tofu
  • 2 tsp. dried ready-to-use wakame (seaweed)
  • 1 green onion/scallion
For quick dashi (instead of homemade dashi)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 dashi packet or 1¼ tsp. dashi powder
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, add water and dashi packet (some brand of dashi packet may ask you to add the packet after boiling). If you are using dashi powder, bring water to a boil and stir in the dashi powder and it's ready to use.
  2. Bring it to a boil over medium high heat. After boiling, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Discard the packet and dashi is ready to use.
  4. Put 1 Tbsp. of miso in a ladle (or strainer) and blend it with dashi until it is thoroughly mixed. Continue this process until miso is all used. Usually each cup of dashi, you will need about 1 Tbsp. of miso. If you add tofu in your miso soup, tofu dilutes the soup a little bit so you might want to add ½ Tbsp. more miso.
  5. Cut tofu into ½" (1 cm) cubes and add to the soup. Stir gently without breaking the tofu.
  6. Soak dried wakame in water to rehydrate for 10 minutes and drain well.
  7. Finely slice the green onion and put the wakame and green onion in each bowl.
  8. Return the miso soup to a slight simmer until heated through and pour into the bowls. Be careful not to boil the miso soup because miso will lose flavor.
Notes
For vegetarian miso soup, use kombu dashi.

If you don't have dashi packet or powder, see how to make homemade dashi stock.

Each brand or kind of miso has different level of saltiness; therefore, add miso 1 Tbsp. at a time and taste the soup before you add more miso.

Use gluten-free miso to make this recipe gluten-free.

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

Editor’s Note: Pictures and recipe are updated in September 2012.

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    • Hi Firefly – Haha 40 minutes! But I know, for a good food I’d do the same (now a little hard to do with 2 kids)! I’m not sure where you live, but I hope you can find Dashi from Japanese/Asian store. If there is an Asian store, I’m pretty sure you can at least buy Hondashi powder. Now my Chinese husband can’t end a dinner without drinking miso soup. Hehe.

      2
  1. I’m very fond of miso soups! So far, I’ve tried different kinds of miso (white rice miso, red miso, and dark barley miso), and the red I absolutely like the best! 😀 There’s a very nice Asian supermarket in Heidelberg where I tend to spend 1/3 of the overall money I spend on food … They already know me there. 😀 It’s the only store where I get kabocha squash all the around the year, and I also bought my rice cooker there and some bowls and a sake set. :)

    A thing I find very sad is that so many products (unfortunately also a lot of Japanese products) are stuffed with MSG. Among the (Japanese) sauces, only basic soy sauce (I always buy Kikkoman) comes without, so I rather mix special condiments at home than buy a readily done product (like teriyaki sauce) to avoid MSG. I also have sake and mirin and use them very often. (Look at my tags! ;)) Sadly, also many miso pastes contain MSG, but I’ve found one brand that sells red miso paste without. Recently, I’ve also bought organic miso (we have a very nice organic supermarket here, and since there’s a lady who is a macrobiotic nutrition counseler in my quarter of the city, they also sell a lot of Japanese products that are often used in macrobiotic cooking, like miso, brown mochi rice, or adzuki beans :D), but haven’t tried it yet.

    I cook a lot of miso soups with different ingredients, but haven’t made the traditonal miso soup with tofu. I know that one from sushi restaurants, but it rather has wakame than green onions.

    I need to post more miso soup recipes … 😉

    3
    • Hi Kath – thank you for writing! I love feedback and thank you for taking your time to write to me. :-)

      I’m glad you are close to some Asian market where you can find Kabocha. I love that sweet pumpkin (squash) but it’s hard to cut, isn’t it? haha.

      Yes I hear you about MSG. I worry a lot about kids’ snack that contains MSG (although I grew up with it). About MSG in condiments, actually we have more organic condiments than years ago. If your store has only made-in-USA Kikkoman brands, etc, then you may not see organic ones. If they carry imported condiments, they should have organic kinds. So here I write in Japanese so you can find (hopefully) organic ones. Please look for 有機 (organic; yuuki) and 無添加 (additive-free; read “mutenka”). Most of condiments I buy are imported ones and they are organic and additive-free. Just no translation on the bottles… sorry….

      My kids love miso soup and I put a lot of veggies in it so they drink everything. My fav combination is wakame, onion, tofu, and aburaage. I also love Tonjiru (have recipe here). My kids love cold miso soup with cabbage in it. My husband loves clams miso soup. We drink almost everyday so we have lots of variation.

      6
  2. Haha, thank you so much! The products at the Asian market where I buy my things are from Japan directly, but I don’t think I’ve seen organic soy sauce. They have wheat-free (tamari), MSG-free, and GMO-free, though. (Thank God there’s GMO labelling obligation now, some products in fact contain GMO soy, and it’s marked.) At the organic supermarket where I also like to buy I can get organic soy sauce, miso, mirin, nori, wakame, etc, but it’s twice as expensive. :(

    I love miso soups and have them quite often. Not every day, but several times a week. I also made one with clams a while ago and it was very good. 😀

    So, I think now I’ve commented and bookmarked half of your blog. Time to put you into my blogroll. :)

    7
    • Kath, I think your Asian store sounds like a very nice one (I like when they sell imported one since that’s what I use). Asian cooking is not so MSG free focus, unfortunately, and I can see it’s hard for you to pick some products. I think Ajinomoto (Japanese seasoning company) made the first MSG or something (if I remember correctly), so it’s very connected in the food industry for sure… Thank you for putting my website in your blogroll. I feel very honored. :-)

      8
  3. I love miso soup and have never made it successfully. Just reading this recipe, I can see that it will work. I will have to find a japanese store (which is not difficult on the Gold coast) for the dashi jiru

    Your blog is fascinating, I can’t wait to come back and check out more of the recipes.

    9
    • Thank you and I hope you will enjoy it. You can add root veggies (daikon, carrots, potatoes, etc) or leafy veggies (spinach, cabbage etc) – these are my kids’ favorites!

      10
  4. We went out for sushi tonight and of course, the first thing we were serve was a bowl of tofu miso soup. While drinking it, I told Bob that I’ve GOT to learn how to make it because it is one of my most favorite soups! And here it is! Perfect timing! Thanks again Nami – you’re helping me expand my culinary repertoire!

    11
  5. I love Miso soup and was looking for an easy recipe for quite sometime!! Thanks for sharing this recipe Nami :)
    It’s a must try since even my 9 yr old loves this in Japanese restaurants!!!

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  6. I was looking for a good and proper miso soup (I used to cook it a long time ago!) and I’ve immediately stopped by your lovely blog. Thank you very much : )

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  7. Steven

    Not sure how much it matters, but I can’t find Japanese branded tofu. I can only get tofu with Korean, Chinese, or all English on the package. Last time I chose the organic Korean soft tofu. I was wondering if Japanese tofu had a different taste? The one I used tonight was good, but had a kinda strong flavor. The texture didnt look like the one in your picture… It’s soft and not silken tofu? Thanks!

    15
    • Hi Steven! I on the other hand never bought non-Japanese brand tofu, so it’s hard to say (plus there are many brands available for Korean and Chinese). I think Korean, Chinese and Japanese soft tofu are pretty similar. Or at least when I eat at the restaurant, the tofu seems “similar” if not “same”. Each brand also makes tofu very differently too, so if you think the one you tried had a strong flavor, you may want to try a different brand. For this recipe (particularly this photo shoot), I’m using Japanese brand tofu, and it’s very smooth and silken. You can put any kinds of tofu (there is no rule what kind of tofu to use for miso soup). Hope this helps. :)

      16
    • Hi Maria! Thank you so much for your kind comment. Yes, miso has a wonderful nutritious benefit (only thing we need to worry is the salt content – make sure you don’t put too much). I am glad you enjoy my recipes! Thanks for writing! :)

      18
  8. Lynn

    September 20, 2013

    I wanted to thank you for this recipe. I made the homemade dashi stock and then the miso soup and they were both perfect. Just the tastes I was craving.
    Thank you so much for the recipe!

    21
    • Hi Lynn! I’m so glad you made miso soup from scratch! It tastes much much better than one from restaurants. Try different variation. If you put root vegetables, makes sure you cook them till tender without miso. Thank you for your feedback! :)

      22
    • Hi Anthea! Just like for all the foods, you should be careful to introduce a new food because your child might have an allergic reaction to certain foods. Please consult with your baby’s pediatrician first.

      In general in Japan, we start feeding miso soup right before a baby turns 1 year old. Instead of giving “regular” (adult) miso soup, we dilute miso soup so that salt content is not too strong, maybe dilute about 4 times. You can scoop the top layer of miso soup (less salty) and dilute it.

      Again, I recommend you to consult with your baby’s pediatrician first. :) Hope that helps!

      24
      • Anthea Ma

        Thanks Nami for your reply. He is coming to 2yo in November and we will be heading to Tokyo for the big day 😉 Since we are going to Japan, thought of letting him try out all these common food first before going there. Here in Malaysia, I’ve asked his doctor before about some of those high allergen food, he said once he turned 1yo should be ok to try everything – except for half cook or raw food.

        25
        • marcela

          hello! my name is marcela and i am from brazil. I would like to thank you for posting this amazing recipes. I made almost everything and they taste like heaven. I can not explain my gratitude for this website. I thank you from heart for your recipes.
          thank you
          ps: soory for the poor english is not my native language

          26
          • Hi Marcela! I understood your English perfectly. I do struggle writing and speaking in English too and I’m not 100% comfortable. :)

            I’m really happy to hear you enjoy my recipes and thank you so much for your feedback. Let me know if my English explanation is not clear, etc. I’d be happy to help. Thanks again!

            28
    • Hi Jude! Thank you! I hope you enjoy my miso soup recipe. Well, just to note that adding ramen in miso soup won’t be like miso ramen…. Ramen is not a good noodle to put in miso soup, unless you really want to add… I’d recommend somen noodles or udon noodles. Ramen is a bit awkward, but it’s up to you! :)

      32
      • Is that so? Thanks for telling me. I don’t know anything about Japanese food except for tempura, sushi and ramen haha! For this year, I want to enchant the dishes I cook for my family so I’ve been trying other Asian recipes. I’m so happy i chanced upon your blog . Excited to learn more….but I need to find a Japanese grocery near our place to buy my miso paste and dashi :)

        35
        • Hi Jude! I mean, it’s up to your preference I guess. But you will not find ramen noodles in miso soup in Japan. Something that we don’t put in miso soup. :) Miso should be pretty easy to find and some American stores like Whole Foods even carry it. For Dashi, you can buy an instant dashi (powder), but if you want to make it from scratch, you may need to visit Japanese or Korean or Asian markets to buy kombu (dried kelp) and katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes). Hope you give it a try! :)

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  9. Gautam

    Hello Nami,

    Thank you for a very informative and well-produced blog. Regarding dashi, I have 2 questions/comments. I used to buy a 1 lb. box of Hondashi of a well-known brand but no more; reason, the first two ingredients are salt, glucose, etc! Regarding katsuo, the only flaked bonito easily available in most of the US hana katsuo, better for furikake than for dashi. The dark katsuo for dashi is not really found here. Niboshi or sardine/anchovies are found in Korean stores and their dashida can be prepared at a lower expense. While not katsuo-dashi, different dashi-s exist in Japan, do they not, in addition to vegetarian ones? Could you please teach us alternatives to the bonito dashis? Thank you very much.

    33
    • Hi Gautam! Thank you so much for reading my blog!

      Yes, I am also not a fan of Hondashi or similar brand and don’t use them. However, I have MSG-free powder dashi from Hikari Miso and this one is pretty decent (and I use it when I need a bit of dashi flavor, but never used in my blog).

      Katsuobushi – I live very close to several Japanese supermarkets here in SF and I am not familiar with the rest of US, so thank you for your feedback. :) I use Hana Katsuo or big flake katsuobushi for making dashi, instead of small katsuobushi.

      I’m going to make Iriko Dashi post soon. This is much easier to make as you mentioned because Korean stores always carry anchovies.

      Dashi in Japan include:

      Awase Dashi (kombu + katsuo),
      Kombu Dashi (vegetarian),
      Katsuo Dashi
      Iriko Dashi
      and Shiitake Dashi – this is a bit unique one. We soak dried shiitake and keep the liquid for dashi.

      That’s it. Only 4 (or 5 if you include shiitake).

      In case you haven’t read, here’s dashi post:

      http://www.justonecookbook.com/how-to/how-to-make-dashi-jiru/

      Hope this helps. :)

      34
  10. Lisa

    I am am making miso soup tonight and I was trolling around the Web for recipes and I came upon your blog. It is very interesting and informative and since I want to try making some Japanese recipes, I think I will referring to it a lot! I had to go to Amazon to get dashi and awase miso. it’s hard to find here in Minnesota! So wish me luck on my miso!

    37
    • Hi Lisa! Welcome to my blog. :) So happy you found my blog! I hope you enjoy cooking Japanese foods. Once you get dashi, mirin, sake, soy sauce, miso, you’re pretty much all set to cook most of Japanese food. :) Hope you enjoy homemade miso soup!

      38
  11. Annie

    Thank you very much for this recipe! In our house, miso soup is curative. It’s the first thing we offer when someone is not feeling well because it is guaranteed to make us feel better. We’ve only ever used the packaged soup which is okay but not anywhere nearly as good as what we’ve eaten at Japanese restaurants. Just recently we found your site and this recipe. Thank you so much, especially for the instructions and illustration on how to cut soft tofu.
    The soup we made this evening was delicious! The first time we try out a new recipe we always follow instructions and don’t make any changes, additions, or subtractions. Your directions are very clear and easy to understand and follow and we appreciated that a lot. For our next try we plan to add mushrooms and/or vegetables other than seaweed.
    We also hope to locate an Asian grocer where we can find the ingredients to make dashi from scratch. We bought the powdered kind and it was great but we’d like to get away from the MSG.
    Thank you again for your excellent instructions and informative comments.

    39
    • Hi Annie! I’m so happy to hear you tried this recipe! These days there are MSG-free powdered dashi (but usually imported from Japan), so you might want to check that out too. Homemade dashi is very easy to make (much easier than making chicken/vegetable broth), and I hope you will make miso soup with homemade dashi. Very delicious! :) Thank you again for your kind feedback!

      40
  12. Rane

    It is very nice to find your recipe on this site. We just tried to make miso soup tonight before I read this. I didn’t cook the miso, instead, I put it in the bowl and pour the dashi soup base in, but it tasted sour :( May I ask your advice?

    41
    • Hi Rane! Thank you for finding my site, and welcome to Just One Cookbook! I’m not too sure why it was “sour”. There is no sourness in miso soup component…. How did you make dashi? Powdered dashi, made from scratch, or used something else? And what kind of miso paste did you use?

      42
      • Rane

        Hi! Nice I got your response. I think it is not the dashi matter. It is the miso itself? Because I tried to boil the water and put tofu and green onion in, also I put the same miso paste at the end. It still tasted sour. I bought the regular miso, it indicated aka miso on the label.
        Thank you for your response!

        43
        • Hi Rene! Assuming that you tried miso soup before (and know the taste), I think you’re probably not fond of aka miso. It has more distinct flavor (at least to me) and quite different from Shiro miso (white miso) or Awase miso (this is combination of shiro and aka). Each miso brand and type has different flavor so you may like other brand of aka miso too… Hope you don’t mind testing different brands and see which one you like. It took me several years and many different brands to see what brand I like. :) (http://www.justonecookbook.com/pantry/miso/)

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  13. Fabio

    I made it yesterday. It was too much salty, I don’t get why. I used kombu dashi and red miso. Maybe, I got the dosage wrong. Also, please, I got two questions: a part of red miso, something like bran, remain in the strainer, should I put it away or not? Do I have to use the whole scallion or only the white part or the green one?

    45
    • Hi Fabio! Thank you so much for trying this recipe. Red miso is much saltier than Mixed (Awase miso) or White (Shiro miso), so I assume you just added a bit too much. When that happens, you can simply dilute with dashi (if you have extra – but most likely that doesn’t happen…) or water (hot water preferably). I usually guess the amount of miso, and once in a while I put too much. So I end up diluting to adjust. :)

      Some miso includes parts of soy beans. They are edible too. It’s up to your preference. My mom usually removed it (as we use the special miso strainer (see step 4) that we can actually take it out), but I’m okay with out without it. So it’s up to you. :)

      Scallion is also up to preference. I like to use both green and white part, and maybe put 1/2 Tbsp. for each bowl.

      Hope this helps!

      46
      • Fabio

        Hi! :) – Thank you! I’ve just made and eaten it. I’ve added only three teaspoons of red miso. It’s good this time. – I make kombu dashi only to make miso soup till now. Kombu dashi recipe serves 3½ cups and miso soup recipe need 3 cups of it. How much kombu (grams) and water (ml) should I use to make only those 3 cups of dashi for this recipe?

        47
        • Hi Fabio! Good part of miso soup is that ingredients are simple, and easily adjusted unlike some soup recipes that require pretty specific amount of certain ingredients. So, I recommend you to add just a bit of more miso for the the extra 1/2 cup. Since kombu dashi is more subtle flavor, you could also reduce water amount and make 3 cups instead. They don’t really affect much for the whole flavor. I know this is kind of “cheating” but it doesn’t have to be precise for dashi or miso soup recipe. Hope I’m not making this even more complicated. =P

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  14. Bill

    Hi Nami

    I need help choosing Miso paste. I purchased what’s called Hatcho Miso, which was very thick and had (by itself, right out of the package) a very strange taste, almost black color and the consistency of tar. It is unpasteurized and supposed to be a very traditional miso in Japan.

    The little packets of miso I get with my instant miso soup mix are very different – much thinner consistency and a yellow color. make excellent soup.

    What brand of miso do you use, and what is a good internet source in the USA?

    Thanks!

    53
    • Hi Kerry! Sure, it’s up to your preference. I like soft tofu for miso soup, but when I only have medium firm, I use it too. :) Hope you enjoy!

      56
  15. Tracy

    I love love love miso soup and I so want to make this. What is the best type of dashi packet or powder to buy?

    Tracy

    57
  16. Amber

    Thank you so much for the recipe! I went to the Asian market down the street and got all the ingredients I need. I do have some questions however. Is it ok to make a big batch and save it in the fridge or does it have to be eaten that day? Also I do not have a miso strainer (or strainer small enough to fit in the pot) could I whisk in the miso or is the strainer imperative?

    59
    • Hi Amber! Great to hear you found all the ingredients! Personally I won’t keep miso soup for more than 2 days. I make dashi and keep it for a week, but I always make fresh miso soup (it only takes a few minutes since I already have dashi ready to heat up). Miso soup is considered tasty when you make it fresh – but it may not be obvious if you don’t drink miso soup everyday. :) So in that case, you can make a big pot, but try to finish it in 2-3 days with tofu in it (keep in the fridge and heat up). For the strainer, don’t worry! If you have a ladle, use a ladle instead. You basically don’t want to drop the miso directly into the pot as you can’t see if it has dissolved or not and you might add more miso… :) Some people take out the dashi from the pot into a bowl and add miso to mix. But to me, it’s easier to use a ladle. Hope this helps! Enjoy!

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  17. Heather

    Nami, we’ve made your miso soup twice in the past three days:) First me and then my daughter… The taste was amazing and the soup was so easy to prepare. This will definitely be a recipe we’ll use again and again.

    61
    • Hi Heather! So happy to hear you enjoyed the miso soup recipe! It’s easy enough that we drink everyday (with different ingredients) in Japan (when we serve Japanese food). Thank you so much for your kind feedback! :)

      62
  18. ojailyn

    Happy Holidays! Quick question, is there a dashi product or base I can buy without MSG…..When I go to markets lots of Japanese products have MSG and I get bad reaction from it…I’m seriously into short cuts when available…:)

    63
    • Yes there are many kinds in Japan already but outside of Japan it can be hard to find. Japanese supermarkets carry no MSG brand but I haven’t seen any Asian markets carry no MSG dashi yet (especially if Japanese products are limited in the store). Have you tried on Amazon? I listed some MSG free dashi package in my Pantry page, I think.

      64
  19. ginnyito

    Hi Nami,

    I am thinking of introducing you’re recipe on miso soup for my 8 month old baby (sadly, she doesn’t take milk very well). Is there a lighter version for babies? And is 8 month a good time to introduce this?

    Thanks :)

    67
    • Hi Ginnyito! Miso is salty, so what we usually do is to scoop out small portion of the soup before adding miso for the family and make a lighter version in another pot for the baby. Or a lot of moms scoop up the upper area of the soup to serve for baby as well. Make sure your baby doesn’t have any allergic to soybeans. Or introduce the amount slowly in the beginning, just like how you introduce new food to the baby. I’m not a specialist so please consult with your pediatrician as well. :)

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  20. Madeline

    I’ve tried making several miso recipes at home, and they always taste very bland and boring. Not the case with your recipe! It was amazing! I’m trying to cut carbs, especially in the morning, ad think I might start having a bowl of miso soup for breakfast. What better way to start a day?

    69
    • Hi Madeline! I’m so happy to hear you enjoy my miso soup recipe! Miso soup is definitely a good start! Thank you for the kind feedback! :)

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  21. Niranjan Regmi

    I lived in Japan for almost 4.5 years from 1989 to 1994. During this time i had an opportunity to savor great taste of Japanese food and tastes. Most of the times i remember of Miso soup and sticky rice (Gohan) and specially i recall taste of Khare-Rice which was very famous during our school time.

    Since 1994, i have been looking for opportunities to come to Japan again however, time and opportunity has not favored me. I am reminded of how i used to love Miso soup and Khare-Rice when i was there in Tokyo.

    Thank you for your time for this recipe. I am not sure if we find Dashi here in Nepal but i surely want to make one and try it myself.

    Arigato Gojaimas.

    71
    • Hi Niranjan! It’s nice to know that you had a wonderful time in Japan. I hope you will be able to visit Japan once again. Meanwhile, I hope my recipes will bring Japan closer to you. Thank you so much for writing! :)

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