Friday, 5 April 2013

I think I'm Turning Japanese !!

Today I made a delicious Japanese soup for lunch. It is from the Yo Sushi cookbook that I was given for my last birthday. I first started getting into Japanese cooking about a year ago when my husband and I learnt how to make Sushi at an evening class run by our local Adult Education Centre. It was an offer we found on Groupon and was great fun. It inspired me to explore Japanese cookery further  The Yo Sushi book has many different recipes. As well as teaching the art of sushi making it also has some some delicious curries and soups. Japanese food is a combination of sweet and salty flavours. It is not as spicy as Thai or Indian but a delicate blend of ingredients like soy sauce, mirin, Chinese rice vinegar and teriyaki. Dishes are simple to prepare and most do not take longer than 15 minutes to cook. The soup I made today is called Farmers Miso and it's hearty and filling. It is a tomato based soup with cannelini beans, bacon, and cabbage. What makes it so special is the Japanese miso paste that you add at the end. Miso paste is a ready made dark chocolate coloured paste that is a combination of soy beans and brown rice that are puréed together. You can buy it in Waitrose or Sainsburys. It really transforms the flavour from what seems like a basic minestrone to a soup bursting with flavour. Today instead of using cabbage I added some curly kale that we have enjoyed from our garden over the winter. At other times I have used fine green beans or broccoli. Experiment with different vegetable combinations and if you are vegetarian omit the bacon and use mushrooms instead. Enjoy!

Farmers Miso Soup

Serves 4-6

1 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 onion finely chopped
2 rashers of back bacon finely chopped (or 4 rashers of pancetta) or 50g mushrooms for vegetarian option
4 leaves of savoy cabbage, hard stem removed finely chopped (or broccoli, kale, fine green beans or courgette)
400g can tin tomatoes
150g cannelini beans from a can, drained and rinsed
600ml (1 pint) boiling water
2tbsp tomato puree
4tbsp chocolate coloured miso paste
ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. 
Add the onion and cook on a low heat until softened and golden
Turn the heat up to medium and add the bacon. Fry until crisp
Add the cabbage, tomatoes, beans and water
Bring up to the boil, reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes
Mix the tomato puree and miso paste together in a small bowl.
Add a ladleful of liquid to the paste and mix together
Pour the mixture into the soup and bring slowly back up to just under boiling point
Season to taste with black pepper 

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