This recipe comes from Nancy Singleton Hachisu’s Preserving the Japanese Way, and is a variant on a recipe from an earlier cookbook of hers. I added my own twists to the recipe, and the end result is pretty damn good. I need to follow my own advice from earlier in this blog for poaching eggs, though – I tried rushing it here, and ended up with an egg blob. ^^;

Country Miso and Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

  • 2.5 c dashi
  • 1 medium daikon (about .25 lbs), scrubbed
  • 1 medium carrot, scrubbed
  • 2-3 spring onions (negi if you have them)
  • 1.5 T awase miso paste (blend of red and white miso)
  • lemon (or yuzu if you can find it you lucky bastard) zest
  • poached egg to top (if you’re so inclined)
  • (I also added some fried tofu chunks)

Take your daikon and carrot, and make sure they’ve been scrubbed (they won’t need to be peeled unless there are blemishes, or they’re too tough). Half the carrot lengthwise, and then slice into thin half-moons, and set aside. Take your daikon, halve it lengthwise, and then halve those halfs (so that you wind up with quarters), and slice into thin wedges. Take the spring onions, cut the white and pale green parts into thin slices (save the tops for garnish), and then toss with the daikon pieces.

Warm your dashi (if you didn’t make it right before starting the soup, that’s what I usually do), until it comes to a gentle simmer. Then, add your carrot slices, and cook for three minutes over medium heat. Add the daikon and spring onions right after, cooking for another three minutes.

Nancy recommends thinning the miso paste with a small bit of the broth at this point separately, but I just whisked the miso right into the broth. Remove from heat, and add the spring onion tops and lemon zest to the broth. I also added in fried tofu at this point. If you’re so inclined, add a poached egg to top it all off, and enjoy the amazing flavor combinations!

Nancy Singleton Hachisu recently put out a new cookbook, Preserving the Japanese Way. Her previous cookbook was a favorite of mine, so I was excited to get my hands on this. It’s mainly themed on pickling and preserving, and this recipe came up right when I had a small fuckton of broccoli on hand, so I was eager to give this a try.

The resulting broccoli has a great flavor from being macreated in the soy sauce, dashi, and red pepper flakes, and the katsuoboshi adds a lovely savory flavor to it, too. I doubled the recipe because of the sheer amount of broccoli I had, but will include the original amounts below.

Broccoli in Soy Sauce with Red Pepper

Ingredients

  • 3 heads broccoli
  • 6 T dashi (recipe here)
  • 8 T soy sauce
  • red pepper flakes to taste (original recommends 3 dried red chiles, crumbled roughly)
  • 2 T katsuoboshi flakes (you can find these at your local Asian grocery)

Bring a mediumish pot of water to boil, and have a bowl of cold water waiting in the kitchen sink. While the water comes to a boil, cut your main stem from your broccoli heads and discard, and then cut up closer to where the florets start, so that it’ll break down into lots of nice sized florets. Cut the upper stems that are left over into similar sized pieces.

Drop your broccoli into the boiling water, and cook for three minutes. While the broccoli cooks, mix together the dashi, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes in a medium sized bowl with a lid. Strain the broccoli from the boiling water, and then immediately put in the cold water. Run cold water from your tap over the broccoli until cooled, and then pat dry.

Once dried and cooled, toss the brocooli with the dashi/soy/red pepper mixture and then cover, Let macreate at room temperature for 30 minutes, then drain the mixture. If eating right away, sprinkle with the katsuoboshi and eat, but these can be stored for a few days in the fridge and still be good.

Nancy also recommends a version with yuzu or lemon peel at the end instead of the katsuoboshi, so I would recommend that if you can get your hand on it.

Looking for a quick, neat breakfast for the week? I recommend ojiya. It’s in the same family as the congee from a few weeks ago, but has a Japanese spin on it. Plus, it’s simple, quick, and filling, and a good way to start out your morning.

Ojiya
Lasts 3 breakfasts

Ingredients

  • dashi (see recipe here)
  • 1 c rice
  • crumbled nori, soy sauce, and rice vinegar to taste

Make your dashi per the instructions above, and once it’s finished simmering, add in your rice and simmer for fifteen minutes, stirring constantly so that rice does not stick to the bottom of the pot. The dashi should be completely absorbed by the end of that fifteen minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and nori, and then enjoy!

Note: this recipe can also be made with leftover stock from nabe (hot pot) cooking, and it’s also recommended that you stir in a raw egg at the end, and add torn umeboshi. I will be sure to test these out!

Zaru soba was one of the meals I ate pretty consistently back when I went abroad to study in Japan almost four years ago now.  Why? It was typically very cheap (400 yen for a serving at a noodle shop, which is about $4), it was filling, and it allowed me to stay cool (as it was incredibly hot out, I was there during August – December).  Plus, you were encouraged to slurp at your noodles, which was very fun, especially with the dipping sauce.

The recipe I’m using for this comes from the cookbook Japanese Soul Cookng, and overall, it’s incredibly thorough. You can make your own soba noodles if you choose, but honestly, it’s saner if you go with premade, unless you have at minimum a whole day to devote to the process of making the noodles.  Cooking the soba itself is very easy; the dipping sauce is honestly the only part where it gets real interesting, and even then, it’s not that difficult. Perfect meal for a hot summer day.

Zaru Soba
Lasts appx 6 lunches as a main course

Ingredients

  • one package soba (usually contains 3 servings)
  • one serving dashi  (use the recipe and instructions in the attached link)
  • .5 c soy sauce
  • .125 (or 1/8) c mirin
  • 2 t sugar
  • 2 T mirin
  • nori, sliced thin (I didn’t have this on hand, but will be adding it)

To cook your soba, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add your package of soba (be sure to remove the little plastic bundling the noodles together). Swirl the noodles with chopsticks as seen in picture one to separate the noodles, and keep them so as they cook.  Cook for approximately 4 minutes (or check your package’s instructions, but odds are they’ll be similar). You’ll know when your noodles are done when you taste them and they’re cooked through (do so after running them after cold water). Once ready, strain them in a colander, and then put the colander in a large bowl, and run cold water over them, filling the bowl (and the colander), and stir your noodles, as seen in picture 2. This helps them cool down and not get overcooked or mushy. Cool for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Then, drain and put into a container, to use whenever you may want.

To make kaeshi, the soba dipping sauce flavoring base, combine the .5 c soy sauce, 1/8th cup mirin, and 2 t sugar in a pot, and bring them to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add your dashi and mirin to your kaeshi, and bring back to a boil to make the dipping sauce.  Once boiling, remove from heat and allow to come down to room temperature. Then, put in a smaller container and in the fridge for at minimum one hour, to allow the flavors to combine. The longer you let the dipping sauce sit in the fridge, the more the flavors will come out.

To eat, add the nori to the noodles, and then use your chopsticks to dip into the dipping sauce, as demonstrated by me and my Darth Maul chopsticks in the final picture!  Why yes, I am a massive dork. Be sure to have a paper towel on hand, though, it can get messy.

Ladies and gentlemen, chazuke is one of my favorite things to make for breakfast, assuming that I have everything on hand for it.  Good, hearty breakfast, and assuming that you already have the things you need (konbu for the dashi broth, some leftover rice, and your topping of choice), fairly easy to make. 

Chazuke
Makes one large serving

Ingredients

  • 2 c water
  • 1 inch piece dried konbu seaweed
  • 1 handful bonito flakes
  • however much leftover rice you want to eat in one sitting
  • a few slices fresh salmon to top (or whatever topping you’d like – umeboshi, smoked salmon, etc)

To make your broth, take your piece of dried konbu and soak a bit in the water in a pot, until it expands a bit (appx 5 mins).  Then, turn the heat on to medium high, and watch the pot until you start to see small bubbles around the konbu (see pic 2). Remove your konbu from the pot, and then add your handful of bonito flakes and simmer for 8 mins. 

Once your broth is made, pour it over your leftover rice, and add your sliced fish (or topping), and then eat it!