Tag Archives: Miso

Chicken and Potatoes in Miso Stew

As I have recently mentioned, I start getting bored with Winter vegetables. On the other hand, as much as I enjoy cucumber kimchi or refreshing citrus drinks, they will never feed me or keep me warm as much as a hearty, thick, potato and carrot soup. A couple of days ago I had some leftover chicken stock and decided to make a quick soup with what I had in the fridge at the moment. I tasted it and felt something was missing. I opened the fridge, took a big tablespoon of miso and was thrilled to discover that this simple gesture gave my basic soup a sophisticated, fusion twist. As a big fan of miso, I have always found its complexity amazing, but I would have never suspected a tablespoon of this condiment can transform such a simple dish into something worth writing about.

For those who still haven’t used miso (味噌), this thick paste made by fermenting soybeans and/or barley or rice, is one of the most important ingredients of the Japanese cuisine. Miso has three main colour types: white (shiromiso), red (akamiso), black (kuromiso), and also mixed miso (awasemiso). In general, the lighter the colour, the more delicate the taste. There are myriads of different misos, depending on the brand, the ingredients, the region… Miso is very healthy, packed with protein, vitamins and minerals. Miso soup is usually the first dish in which foreigners discover this Japanese staple, but it’s also used in simmered dishes, as a seasoning for grilled fish and meat, in sauces, pickles…

Here are some other miso use ideas:

Garlic Miso Chicken Breast

Aubergine with Ponzu, Miso and Sesame Sauce

Miso Soup with Tofu

-Miso Soup with Shrimp and Tofu

-Mackerel Simmered in Miso

TIP: Adding the miso just before serving (not boiling it) preserves its precious nutrients.

Preparation: 20 minutes

Ingredients (serves one):

200 ml chicken stock

1/2 chicken breast, sliced

1 small carrot, chopped

1 small potato, peeled and cubed

1 tablespoon miso (or more)

(soy sauce if the soup is not salty enough)

Put the stock, the carrot, the potato and the chicken into a small pan. Cook it for about 20 minutes until the potato cubes are cooked.

Put the pan aside and stir one tablespoon miso, making sure it is well dissolved.

Serve.

 

 

 

 

Stir Fried Aubergine, Mushroom, Chicken and Cashew Nuts

Stir fried meat or seafood with vegetables is probably my most frequent dish category, but since ingredients change every time I cook (depending on what I find in the fridge), I hardly ever post about it. However, my first combination of aubergine, mushroom, chicken and cashew nuts proved so good, I decided to put down the exact ingredients, write about it and, thus, share this easy Autumn recipe with you.

Aubergine season is over and the ones I buy grow in green houses, so strictly speaking this is not a seasonal recipe. In spite of that, the mushroom flavour of the aubergine combined with simple button mushrooms and crunchy cashew nuts created a definitely comforting, warming dish, ideal for cold days. Even the dark brown colours seemed seasonal. As I have lately told Kelly from Inspired Edibles, seeing her cashew butter, I love cashew nuts in savoury dishes. They have a delicate taste, which goes well with almost everything, and they add a pleasant crunch. Grilled sesame seeds are my huge addiction. I sprinkle them on the majority of my meals now, hence their presence on the photo (of course they are not obligatory here). Chopped shiso proved once more ideal with aubergine (I have discovered it in the Aubergine with Ponzu, Miso and Sesame Sauce), but it can easily be skipped. I served this stir-fry “donburi” style, i.e. on top of a bowl with rice, but it can of course be served separately and not necessarily with rice.

Before I pass to the recipe I would like to say I am particularly happy today  because Mr. Three-Cookies (from Three-Cookies an Easily Good East blogs) has posted a modified version of my Easiest Apple Cake recipe, substituting bananas for apples. His cake looks absolutely luscious and original. Have a look at his beautiful Layered Banana Semolina Cake recipe. Thank you, Mr. Three-Cookies, for improving my awful Monday mood!

Preparation: 30 minutes

Ingredients (serves one):

100 g aubergine

100 g button mushrooms

50-70 g chicken breast

10-15 cashew nuts

1 clove garlic

oil

(3 chopped shiso leaves)

Sauce:

3 tablespoons soy sauce (or more if using low-sodium)

1 heaped tablespoon miso

2 tablespoons mirin

1/3 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Chop the garlic clove.

Cut the aubergine into thin, bite-sized pieces.

Slice the mushrooms.

Cut the chicken breast into strips or bite-sized pieces and season it slightly with salt.

Combine the sauce ingredients.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan and grill slightly the cashew nuts. Put them aside.

Add some oil if needed and stir fry the aubergine for about 10 minutes.

Add the mushrooms, the chicken, the garlic and stir fry for at least ten more minutes (the aubergine has to be very soft and the chicken thoroughly cooked).

Pour the sauce, throw the cashew nuts into the pan, stir well for about one minute and serve (sprinkled with shiso if you have it).

Miso Soup with Shrimp and Tofu

I usually drink only a big coffee for breakfast and don’t start being hungry before 10 am. If I happen to work at home, this is the moment when I have my late breakfast and my absolute favourite meal is miso soup (miso shiru 味噌汁). It is quick, healthy, full of proteins, low in carbs and quick to prepare. In short, a perfect breakfast. However, by soup miso I don’t mean the tiny bowl which is a part of traditional Japanese meals. I have my miso soup in a bigger bowl and the ingredients I add are often more then unorthodox.

For those who have never had or made a miso soup, it is composed of dashi (Japanese stock) and miso (fermented soybean paste). The most popular dashi version seems to be made with dried bonito flakes and konbu (a type of seaweed). It can be bought ready-to-use, but making dashi at home is very easy and in some countries (like in Switzerland) it is simply cheaper. I make my dashi stock every other week, in big batches, and then store it in the fridge, ready to be reheated. For me the biggest advantage of a home-made dashi is the lack of salt (present in instant dashi). It means I can add more of the delicious miso paste or soy sauce when using my stock. (Click here to see Primary and Secondary Dashi recipes.) Apart from the miso soup, dashi is necessary in many Japanese dishes, such as Fish in Barbarian-Style Marinade, Oyakodon or Udon Soup.

Going back to the miso soup, I always make sure it is packed with proteins, which keep my hunger away for much longer than anything rich in carbs. Tofu is the most frequent ingredient I add, but I also like to use leftover cooked vegetables, mushrooms, seafood or meat. Shrimps are among my favourites; I often have them in my freezer and they are very quick to cook. Today, apart from the shrimps, I have also added some of my beloved firm tofu and sprinkled everything with frozen dill, which is not only ideal for shrimps, but, strangely, goes perfectly well with miso soup on its own. If someone had told me a year ago that dill is the ideal seasoning in miso soup, I wouldn’t believe it, but now I keep it chopped and frozen all year especially for my regular shrimp soups.

Preparation: 15 minutes

Ingredients (serves one):

300 ml dashi stock

6 medium cooked shrimps

60 g tofu cut into cubes (I prefer the firm one here)

1/2 teaspoon fresh or frozen chopped dill

1 heaped tablespoon miso

Combine the dashi with miso.

Add the shrimps and the tofu and heat in a small pan, stirring from time to time.

(Do not let it boil!).

When the soup acquires the desired temperature (I prefer it warm, not hot), pour it into a bowl and sprinkle with chopped dill.

Aubergine with Ponzu, Miso and Sesame Sauce

This is another lovely recipe I have found on Nami’s extraordinary blog (Just One Cookbook) and another one which confirms my fondness of the aubergine. If, like me a couple of years ago, you associate the aubergine with fat-soaked tasteless slices, you should try this simple and healthy dish, which makes me regret the aubergine season is almost over. I think it’s an excellent introduction to the sophisticated and simple way the Japanese cook their vegetables, bringing the best out of their subtle taste.

I hope Nami will not be angry to learn I have slightly changed her recipe, skipping konbucha/kombucha (昆布茶, “seaweed tea”), one of the sauce ingredients I kept on forgetting to buy. According to Nami its presence guaranteed umami taste, so for me miso (fermented soy bean paste), as the quintessence of umami, was the obvious substitute to experiment with. The experiment was so successful that now, having tried both versions I couldn’t say which one I prefer. Both create a perfect, complex flavours’ combination of flavours and both are ideal with the grilled aubergine. The sauce with konbucha is lighter and more delicate, while the one with miso is creamier and has a stronger taste. (Unfortunately, I couldn’t advice any substitute for ponzu (ポン酢), a mixture of soy sauce and yuzu juice. I tried once to combine soy sauce with lemon, then with lime juice, but the results were not satisfactory.)

After much hesitation I have decided to post the miso version in case some of you don’t have konbucha (it’s a bit more difficult to get than miso), but I strongly encourage you to follow Nami’s original recipe and try both of them.

I have accidentally discovered this grilled aubergine is ideal served with Garlic Miso Chicken Breast Skewers, also adapted from Nami’s Garlic Miso Chicken Wings recipe). Nami, I am so grateful for the sophisticated simplicity and delight your Japanese meals bring to my table!

Preparation: 15 minutes

Ingredients (serves two):

1 medium eggplant, in 1/2 cm thick slices

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 flat tablespoons chopped chives or green onions

3 tablespoons chopped shiso leaves

Sauce:

2 tablespoons ponzu

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon miso (or 1/4 teaspoon konbucha, click here to see the details on Nami’s blog)

Brush both sides of the aubergine slices with sesame oil and grill them or pan-fry them on both sides. (Or heat some oil in the pan instead of brushing the slices).

In the meantime combine the ingredients of the sauce (I close them in a small container with a lid and shake like a cocktail; it helps to dissolve the cold miso).

Arrange the aubergine on a plate, sprinkle with chives and shiso and pour the sauce.

Serve warm or cold (I prefer it warm).

Garlic Miso Chicken Breast

When I saw Nami’s Garlic Miso Chicken Wings on Just One Cookbook, I instantly felt it would become my staple. It called for my beloved miso, it was simple, light and, last but not least, it looked irresistible. Since, as usually, I had several chicken breasts in my fridge and absolutely no wings, I decided to adapt Nami’s recipe to suit them. Adding sake to the marinade and brushing the breast pieces with oil was sufficient to stop them from excess drying. The result was so good that I prepared this dish at least five times in the last couple of weeks. Its flavour is typical of the Japanese cuisine: complex and simple at the same time. It is also versatile enough to be served with hot, sweet or sour sauce (try it with ume plum paste!) and practically with every possible vegetable. Thank you, Nami! You have made me discover a wonderful dish that I feel I will never get tired of!

Skewers are not necessary of course, but they make the flipping over much easier. The meat can be marinated for a couple of hours, but the taste and texture seriously improve when it is left overnight in the fridge. If you use the skewers, make sure you soak them enough in the water. Otherwise (as you can see above) they will simply burn.

If you want to grill chicken wings, ignore the below instructions and click here to see Nami’s original Garlic Miso Chicken Wings recipe. Garlic miso wings are beautiful, crunchy (the thing I will never obtain with breasts) and luscious.

Before passing to the recipe, I would like to thank Ping (from Ping’s Pickings) for two flattering awards. I am very honoured to say I have received both the Interesting Blog Award and the Cherry on Top Award. Thank you so much, Ping!

Special equipment:

skewers (not necessary, but make the flipping over process easier)

Preparation: 10 minutes+ marinating time (at least 3 hours, but definitely better overnight)

Ingredients (serves 1 – 2):

1 big or two small chicken breasts

1 big clove garlic grated or squashed

1 teaspoon soy sauce (or 1 tablespoon if, like me, you use low-sodium soy sauce)

1 tablespoon miso (I used red miso)

1 teaspoon mirin

1 tablespoon sake

1 tablespoon oil to brush the meat before grilling

(chives)

Cut the breast into bite-sized pieces.

Combine all the ingredients (apart from the oil) with the chicken and put into the fridge for at least 3 hours.

Preheat the oven grill/broiler.

Soak the skewers in water for at least 10 minutes so they don’t burn like mine.

Put the meat pieces on the skewers and place them on aluminium foil.

Brush the meat with the marinade (if there is some in the bowl) and finally with the oil.

Grill the meat until it becomes golden (about 10 minutes). Then flip over and grill for a couple more minutes.

(You may sprinkle the skewers with chopped chives. I have used Chinese chives here).