Is there a cuisine that does minimalism as well as Japan. Nah I n not. I have been talking about how I adore miso for a long time. But never really documented my miso soup lunches. Because it all happens so fast, I don’t get time to take pictures. And not that there is much to do anyways.
I start my soaking some dried Oyster mushrooms in boiling water. They are left alone for like 15 minutes, while I make tea.
These are drained and the water reserved. The water in which they have been soaked becomes this wonderful woody stock. Sometimes I soak them with a little salt. But usually I forgo it.
I add a bit more water to the stock and boil some noodles in them. Somedays I will just throw in some leftover rice or even spaghetti. I get the miso out after that. Sadly, I just have access to instant miso paste, the red variety. But any Miso is better than no miso yah ? it’s so good, I eat it as a carrot dip often. [thats another lunch habit of mine, chew on whole carrots].
Once the noodles are soft, They are picked and put into the bowl and miso paste scooped on to them. I used two packets of it. I like it strong.
To the stock, that is still boiling by the way, I add some peas, or any other greens at hand. Some green in miso is essential. As it’s red in color green complements it beautifully. Its an idea of contrast. Of color and taste. The sweetness of peas and the salty miso the green and the red.
I also added some sausages to up the protein content and in the tradition of japanese fast food mystery meats :).
The sausages only take a minute to cook. Because they are already processed. I don’t really recommend eating them too much. I had to finish it, I’m leaving for a trip on sunday and my vegetarian roommate will have no use for them. And especially in Miso, you don’t need any more umami [meaty/savory, the 5th Japanese taste] going.
The mushrooms and the sausage are arranged on the noodles. It’s important that it looks good. If your food is pleasant looking, you brain processed the ‘I need to tell stomach to start it’s engines’ signals faster.
And finally, the stock with the peas is slowly poured onto the bowl. It will be mixed on eating. The miso paste mixed in, the sausages broken into bits. All that will happen when I eat. The is a certain zen about still preparing food while you are eating it. Keeps us mindful of what we put into our mouth and increases pauses between bites.
And I served it with a sauce I made from a little soya, honey and oyster. Not that it was really needed. I barely used it and have saved most for a marinade later.
There, this is what I eat most afternoon. Minus the sausages. Sometimes I add an egg on top. Sometimes some tofu. Sometimes more greens. I drip a nice big cup of green tea with this as well.
The Miso packets are available at Hypercity Supermarket in Malad as are many other Japanese products. Including Shoyu, Bonito Flakes and azuki bean green tea jelly :) ( I love jelly).
Remember to eat this mindfully and slowly. Chew every bite well and take in the wonder that is miso.