Back to food miso soup dengaku
Miso is another of Japan’s culinary gifts to the world. It is made from a mixture of soybeans, grains (rice, or barley), salt, water, and a fermenting agent. It is a savory, protein rich, highly nutritious soyfood that is of major importance in East Asia. Miso is unchallenged in it’s versatility and is the base for sauces, soups, dressings, toppings, as well as being used as a medium for making pickles. Every area of Japan produces it’s own variety of miso, so there are many types to choose from. The two most common and readily available are white and red miso. The white varieties are a yellowish brown color and have a lite, almost sweet taste. The red varieties range from a deep dark red to an almost ebony brown, they also possess a rich aroma and an earthy taste. The following are just some of my favorite ways to use miso.
MISO SHIRO (miso soup)
Miso soup is always made by combining hot dashi with your choice of miso paste. In Japan miso soup is not just eaten at dinnertime, many people have as the first meal of the day a cup full of hot miso soup! All you need to prepare this healthy and delicious treat is a small sieve and a pot.
3 cups dashi (see basics for preparation method)
14 cup miso (either red or white miso)
1 teaspoon of wakame seaweed, chopped fine (optional)
1 slice of tofu an inch long and half an inch wide, finely diced into cubes
2 teaspoons of very finely chopped green onions
Put the dashi in a saucepan or small pot and bring to a near boil. Place the miso into a small hand held sieve, dip it into the dashi in order to moisten, and then with a spoon, stir and push the miso through the sieve. Continue dipping and stirring until all the miso is dissolved into the dashi. Add the tofu and allow to simmer. Serve the soup into a lacquer bowl and garnish with the chopped onions.
DENGAKU MISO (sweet simmered miso)
Dengaku is one of Japan’s oldest types of miso cuisine. It consists of grilling various types of skewered foods, then coating the food with a thin layer of sweetened miso and grilling again. Here is how to make the sweet simmered miso used in dengaku.
1 34 cups of red or white miso
13 cup sake
13 cup mirin
3 tablespoons of sugar
Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir with a wooden spatula over a medium flame. When the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat and continue stirring until smooth and thick (around 20 minutes). Let cool and then it’s ready to use. Sweet simmered miso can be refrigerated for up to a month.
You can grill many different foods when making dengaku, try grilling mushrooms, leeks, daikon, mochi, green peppers, konnyaku or tofu. Here are two more tasty dengaku treats…
Dashi is a stock made from konbu (kelp) and katsuo-bushi (dried bonito fish). Along with shoyu (soy sauce), dashi is used most frequently in Japanese cooking in everything from soups to simmered vegetable dishes. Dashi is the foundation for innumerable dishes.
Broiled Sweet Potato
Take 1 sweet potato, cut lengthwise, peel and steam (or use a microwave) until just tender, let cool. Now place the slices on aluminum foil under an oven broiler and broil on each side until lightly speckled, spread one side with a thin layer of dengaku miso and grill again until the miso bubbles. Serve hot or cold.
Take four Japanese eggplants and split them lengthwise. Broil the eggplants on each side in an oven broiler until the eggplant is nearly cooked through (you can brush on a little bit of sesame oil to keep the eggplant from drying out, this also imparts a nice flavor). Spread dengaku miso on the cut surface side and grill again until the miso bubbles. Serve hot or cold.