Noodles with Fried Eggplant, Miso and Walnuts

I hadn’t really cooked any dishes from Ottolenghi’s books for about a year (and it would be another 6 months before I went back to cooking his recipes regularly). When I began cooking from Plenty More again, I realised 2 things: Firstly how much I had missed the flavours of Ottolenghi, and secondly I remembered the almost tedious number of processes in each recipe.

The deep sweetness and intensity produced by miso paste, combined with other Japanese staples, are guaranteed to put a smile on your dial on an overcast Winter or Early Spring day.

This one is no different. It has 7, yes seven, different processes with associated pots, pans and equipment. Make the vegetarian dashi, ribbon cut and soak ginger and spring onions, prep the eggplants, deep fry the eggplants, saute the onions, walnuts etc, make the sauce, cook the noodles.

So Ottolenghi flavours come at a price. Leave an afternoon free – at least several hours to cook and clean up – when making any of his dishes.

To be fair though – the man I call the Master of Flavour produces amazing dishes that makes the hours worth the effort!

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area. You can see the original recipe here.

Similar recipes include Roasted Eggplant with Special Miso Sauce, Deep Fried Eggplant, Ginger Scallion Noodles, and Udon Noodles and Shimejii Mushrooms.

Browse all of our Japanese dishes and all of our Eggplant recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Simmered Daikon Radish with Miso and Sesame Sauce

Daikon is popular in Japan and Korea (and each have a slightly different type of daikon), so flavours from these countries pair well with this long white radish. It is also used quite commonly in India, BTW, but here we are focusing in on some Japanese flavours.

The daikon is simmered with kombu, my favourite seaweed, and then served with a tahini-miso sauce. It is so delightful, and I serve it as a small starter. If I am eating alone, I dip the slices into the sauce, but for company, it is easier to place a spoonful of the sauce on top of each slice.

Sometimes I sprinkle some Korean chilli flakes or Japanese Shichimi Togarashi, (seven spice pepper) over the slices of daikon, and love the slight spice hit they give.

You might like to read What to Do with Daikon Radish.

Similar recipes include Mustard Greens with DaikonDaikon Salad with Coconut, and Daikon Dal.

Browse all of our Daikon recipes, and all of our Japanese recipes. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Soba Noodles with Quick Pickled Mushrooms

In Australia, we usually eat our noodles hot, but in Japan, noodles – especially soba noodles – are often consumed cold. They are flavoursome, textural and refreshing, and a great base or carrier for other flavours.

This dish pairs some quick pickled Shimeji mushrooms, carrots, radishes, snow peas and nori seaweed with the noodles. It is an Ottolenghi recipe from Plenty More and is is a great Summer dish.

Yotham says:

Cold noodles are a Japanese art form. On a trip to Tokyo a few years ago I queued with a bunch of suited businessmen to have lunch in one of the city’s most renowned soba noodle restaurants. It was incredibly humbling to watch a bunch of very busy people putting aside time to sit quietly for half an hour and completely immerse themselves in the appreciation of the profound subtlety of the noodles. Enlightenment still escapes me but I’ve had my own little life moments in various London noodles bars in recent months.

I ordered a “Cold Soba Noodle Bowl” in Sydney recently, looking forward to the noodles. Sadly it was 99% shredded raw veggies, and 1% noodles. This dish fixes that ratio with a more balanced serve of noodles with the herbs and vegetables. Delicious!

Similar recipes include Glass Noodles with Spinach, and Glass Noodles with Green Mango Salad.

Browse all of our Soba Noodle dishes and our Shimeji recipes. Our recipes from Plenty More are here. Or explore our recipes for Late Summer.

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Quick Pickled Shimeji Mushrooms

Shimeji Mushrooms are those lovely tiny caps on a long skinny stalk that grow together on a base and are typically Japanese (although they also grow elsewhere). Sometimes they are just labelled as exotic mushrooms, but don’t let your green grocer get away with that. Enquire as to the exact type, you have a right to know.

The other day we made a dish of udon noodles and shimeji with a miso mushroom broth. The remaining mushrooms are made into this lovely quick pickle which will last a week in the fridge. Eat it as a pickle accompaniment to meals, as part of a mezze plate, in salads or piled on top of hot soups. I hope you love these little mushies* as much as I do.

Shimeji is often used as a collective term for about 20 or so different varieties of mushrooms. Although there are specific shimeji mushrooms, labelling or produce is not as specific,  and you will find that the collective term includes smaller mushrooms of different varieties. Never mind, though, they are all delicious.

*mushies is Australian slang for Mushrooms

Similar recipes include Chinese Cold Cucumbers, Carrot and Kombu Quick Pickle, Celery Quick Pickle with Chilli, and Cucumber and Radish Quick Pickle.

Browse all of our Mushroom recipes, and all of our Quick Pickles. Our Japanese recipes are here. Or take some time to explore our Late Winter dishes.

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Udon and Shimeji Mushrooms with a Miso Mushroom Broth

Shimeji mushrooms are a popular mushroom in Japan with wonderful umami flavour. They grow at the bottom of Japanese oaks and red pines. When raw they have a somewhat bitter taste, but the bitterness disappears completely upon cooking. The cooked mushrooms have a pleasant, firm, slightly crunchy texture and a slightly nutty flavour. They love soups, stews and noodle dishes, and can be sauteed and slow roasted.

Similar dishes include Miso-Peanut-Coconut-Chilli-Turmeric Sauce, Miso Slow Braised Cabbage, Quick Pickled Shimeji Mushrooms, Hot and Sour Soup, Slow Cooked Creamy Mushrooms, Mushrooms for Toast, and Caramelised King Oyster Mushrooms.

Browse all of our Mushroom recipes and all of our Noodle dishes. Our Japanese recipes are here. Or take some time to explore our Late Winter dishes.

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Daikon Miso Pickles

Tsukemono are traditional Japanese pickles, and they are extremely diverse. Some require a massively long fermentation time and lots of prep, others give new meaning to the term quick pickle taking 5 minutes from start to finish. Misozuke are pickles made with miso.

Given our love for miso, and our love for pickles, it is really a surprise we haven’t made miso pickles before. It’s remedied today with this recipe for Daikon Miso Pickles. It is a recipe that can be used for a large variety of vegetables, so once you have your miso base established, you can make continuous pickles.

Similar recipes include Daikon and Onion Quick Pickle, Green Apple Pickle, Quick Pickled Radishes, and Quick Carrot Pickle.

Browse all of our Miso dishes and our Daikon recipes. Or browse all of our Late Winter dishes.

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Congee Bowls | How to Make Congee

I love congee made in a Chinese clay cooking pot in the middle of Winter, cooked on a lazy Sunday afternoon. A large batch is sometimes cooked and stored in the fridge. In this way it is available night and day, for late night suppers or early morning breakfast. Congee was once a very popular dish but it has fallen out of fashion. We have been making it since 2003, and thankfully it has not fallen out of fashion in our household. In China, congee is eaten for breakfast or as an all day snack. Plain congee is served with lots of different condiments to sprinkle over it, and often with a fried dough stick.

There are lots of congee recipes around – almost every Asian cookbook you pick up has one in it. I first cooked it at home  as I loved the late night congee in Sydney’s China Town. So good. Short grain rice is best. One cup of rice made a huge amount – enough for 4 – 6 bowls of it. So be careful the first time that you make it to ensure that you are not making enough for your whole suburb!!! Congee can be eaten at any time of the day – it has become a popular breakfast food for Southern Chinese and midnight snacks for Singaporeans & Malaysians. So eat it first thing, last thing, or anywhere in between.

Congee Bowls, in our household, are bowls of congee topped with a range of delicious accompaniments – herbs, tofu, bean sprouts, peanuts, crispy onions and garlic, steamed beans, mushrooms, Asian greens – the list is endless and any combination can be used, depending on the season, the weather, your mood, the time of day and the available ingredients. Congee flavour is always up to you!

Congee is eaten throughout Asia, from Japan right down to Indonesia. Each one varies a little from the others, but all are made with boiled rice, lentils or beans. However, the name for this dish originated in India – from the Tamil kanji. Perhaps also from the Telugu and Kannada gañji, the Malayalam kanni and the Urdu ganji. All meaning, more or less, boiling. The earliest reference can be traced back to the Zhou dynasty (circa 1000BC). It is also mentioned in the Chinese Record of Rites (1st century AD) and noted in Pliny’s account of India circa AD77.

Similar recipes include Barley, Millet and Mung Congee, Rice, Millet and Lentil Congee, Sweet Congee with Poached Oranges, Red Rice with Adzuki Beans Congee, Cracked Wheat and Mung Dal Kitchari, and Quinoa Porridge.

See also Ginger Scallion Claypot Rice.

You might like to browse our Rice recipes, and Porridge recipes. Or check out our easy Mid Winter recipes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can explore more of the Retro Recipes series, our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

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Miso and Tofu Dipping Sauce and Dressing

We love our dipping sauces, ones that an be used as dressings and sauces as well. This one, another recipe from a pack of miso, is wonderful. It takes soft tofu and blends it with miso, garlic and saké. Yum!

If you are not familiar with using miso, read about the different types.

Similar dishes include Sesame-Chilli-Soy Dipping Sauce, Miso and Ginger Dressing, Miso and Tahini Sauce, Miso Sesame Dressing, and Chilli Miso and Sesame Sauce.

Browse all of our Miso recipes and all of our Dipping Sauces and Dressings. Or explore our Early Winter dishes.

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Broth and Dipping Sauce for Japanese Noodles and Tofu

We don’t often make bowls of noodles, but really, I don’t know why. This broth (or dipping sauce) is delicious. Topped with fresh greens, mushrooms, spring onions, the noodles are far too good to ignore. Although we used Japanese noodles for today’s dish, we used Chinese Spinach as our greens, along with cute little pieces of yuba (dried beancurd) tied in knots. I know that you will enjoy this dish.

Use this broth or dipping sauce for any noodle dish or tofu dish, or for anything else that you would like to use a broth or dipping sauce with. Kept fairly thick, it makes a great dressing too, for Asian style salads.

Japanese Noodles are served cold in summer and hot otherwise, in a broth or with a dipping sauce. The broth or dipping sauce can be made up to a week before use. We make our own vegetarian dashi (stock) for the sauce with handful of dried mushrooms, some dried seaweed and light miso paste.

Similar recipes include Ginger Scallion Noodles, Miso-Peanut-Coconut-Chilli-Turmeric Sauce, Miso and Tahini Sauce, Spread and Dressing, Soy and Sesame Dipping Sauce, and Sesame Ginger Dipping Sauce.

Are you looking for other Noodle recipes? Have a look at the wealth of noodles available. Try Persian Noodles with Eggplant, Saffron and KashkKitsu Udon.

You might also like our to explore our Dipping Sauces, Noodle recipes and  Japanese dishes. Or check out our collection of Late Spring recipes.

This recipe is from our Retro Recipes series, vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006. It is a recipe we still use often, when we feel in a noodle mood.

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Miso Soup with Wakame

Miso has made its way back into our kitchen. A favourite of old, somehow it disappeared from our ingredients some time ago. But I adore soup made simply from dissolving a spoon of miso in hot water. Sip. Feel relaxed. Comforted. Rested.

There are dozens of different types of miso. Today we’re using Genmai. Genmai Miso is a mellow, sweet, golden miso paste of whole soybeans and brown rice which is traditionally aged in cedar kegs for up to 18 months. It is good for soups, sauces and slow cooked dishes, and is often referred to as Brown Miso. This is a version of the recipe that came with the miso – I have tinkered with it a little. It is an unusual one for me, as I usually just add sliced vegetables to miso dissolved in hot water. It is quick, easy and delicious, and sautes the vegetables briefly before adding to the soup.

Please remember to offer miso soup to your friends and family when they are overwrought, when they are having a hard time, when they are so tired they can no longer stand up, when they have a young kids or babies that won’t allow them to sleep, or when life throws enormous challenges at them. It is incredibly restorative.

If you are not familiar with using miso, read about the different types. Please also read my recipe for making amazing miso soups.

Similar recipes include Miso Vegetables and Rice with Sesame Dressing, Miso and Tofu Dipping Sauce and Dressing, Miso and Tahini Sauce, Spread and Dressing, Miso Sesame Dressing, Tofu, Spinach and Sesame-Miso Napoleans, and Japanese Baked Eggplant with Miso and Sesame.

Browse all of our Miso recipes and all of our Soups. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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