If you will recall, several posts back I brought back miso from Japan and shared about it briefly. I finally have a recipe that makes use of this special miso. It’s the kind made in the northern region of Japan with high quality Koshihikari rice and koji. They call it red miso, but the color is more of brownish red and completely different from Nagoya style red. This particular variety called “Kogane miso” was made with mochi rice, soybeans, salt and koji. It’s moderately salty and less sweet than white. I was so used to the Nagoya red which I grew up with, made with soybeans and salt only (pretty salty and bold due to two simple ingredients), the rich and complex flavor of Kogane miso by comparison is so much more elegant.
Just like peanutbutter, there are basically two types of texture in miso: smooth and rough/grainy (I wouldn’t call it chunky because soybeans in miso aren’t quite crunchy). Most miso I’ve seen in the states are fairly smooth and it’s preferred for making miso soup. Yes, the reason why I say fairly smooth is because some miso can be extremely smooth to where it’s so creamy (i.e., Kyoto white miso). But I love the grainy texture of almost but not completely grounded soybeans in miso. It feels so much more real and wholesome. I even like it in miso soup. That’s probably why I fell in love with Kogane miso.
I’ve been enjoying it little by little and experimenting with various dishes for the past few months. If you find good quality miso that you can eat it raw, the best way to enjoy is to eat it as a dip. Simply cut up your favorite vegetables into sticks and eat them like a snack. If it’s too salty for your taste, you can mix miso with sake, sugar and dashi, or that plus a drop of ginger juice.
The best dish I made so far with Kogane miso was Miso Ratatouille. It made the vegetables taste so good that it just became my main entrée for that night. It made me proud that I’d made something so healthy and tasty! If you are lacking vegetables in your diet, this is a great dish to get your five servings of vegetables a day. The miso in this recipe is definitely a hidden yet the key ingredient in enriching the flavor. I added shiitake mushroom to further infusing the Japanese essence into the dish, but you can substitute that with any other mushrooms or completely leave it out. It’s up to you. I haven’t experiment with pale white miso or very dark miso and I’m not sure how it would work, but if you do try, let me know how it is.
Recipe of the Day - Miso Ratatouille
Ingredients: (serves 6-8)
1 med. onion
1 med. Chinese eggplant
1 red bell pepper
4 shiitake mushrooms, remove the stem
1 can whole stewed tomato
3 Tbsp sake
6 Tbsp miso
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp EV olive oil for cooking
Wash and cut all vegetables in to 1 to 1 1/2” cubes.
Heat olive oil a large pot over medium-high, stir in vegetables in the order of onion, carrot, eggplant, bell pepper, and mushroom.
Add tomatoes and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Mix sake, miso and rice wine vinegar in a small bowl. Add the seasoning to the pot and mix well. Cook for another 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.