Some basic ingredients

by KK

Hi this is KK, Sushi Artist / Healthy Muffin Maker / Mum 🙂

Thank you for visiting my blog.

 

I was looking in my pantry and wondering,

“What is the most important ingredient for me to cook Japanese/Vegetarian food?”

I’ve thought about this before, and time to time, mentioned about it in my blog, but the top 3 would be

1)Soy sauce

2)Miso

3)Sake (Cooking rice wine)

 

Today, I want to write about Miso.

Miso is a thick paste made from soy beans, salt and malt. You can make it yourself, and this year, I have “cooked” 4kg at home in Sydney.

Here, I prepared organic soy beans, macrobiotic sea salt and “KOUJI”, dried rice malt that I miraculously found in a Japanese grocery shop in Artarmon.

 

Malt is used in many forms in Japan. It is essential to create Sake(Japanese traditonal alcohol) ,Miso, Pickles, and even Soy sauce. Through fermentation, it gives a wonderful flavor that can not be expressed in words, and you can not imagine how happy I was to find this precious ingredient.

Unfortunately, I could only find it once, and is hoping that they will import it once again. Then, I can introduce how to make your own Miso on this blog too!

 

Even in Japan, not everyone makes miso at home. People like me who enjoys cooking would do so, so I do have a group of friend making miso every year. After “cooking” it, we have to wait at least 6 month for the fermentation process to happen, but I believe it’s worth the wait, and the more you wait, the better taste it becomes. It’s like wine! You need patience, love and passion to make these kind of things.

 

If you are more practical, and would like something handy, I recommend to buy either Barley miso or Shiro-miso.

 I am out of my Barley miso, so here is a photo of my Shiro-miso. Shiro-miso means “White miso” and compared to most miso, it is a bit sweeter. This is why you can use it in other cooking apart from miso soup!

 

Some of you may have realized that in Japanese cooking, we add sweetness by using raw sugar or Mirin(sweet cooking wine). In Japan, I hardly used sugar, but living in Sydney, and introducing Japanese food in English, I thought “Hey, I’m using way too much sugar”. This is because most Japanese food in Sydney is made much sweeter than it is in Japan, and I thought I should cook something to match your taste.

However, now that Yumi is eating like us, and I don’t want her sugar consumption to increase, so I am shifting a bit back to my basic cooking, and try to use less sugar. So, in that way, I would be using shiro-miso more often in my food. I hope you can find it and learn to use it!

 

Miso is not only for miso soup, it has many more possibility to it, and I hope you can find your favorite cooking with it! Enjoy your cooking!

 

NOTE: The brand I buy is called SPIRAL, and I bought it at Mr. Vitamins for under $9 a pack. You can buy other brand shiro-miso from places like Honest to Goodness, an organic shop that I buy most of my beans from. At Honest to Goodness, a 400g packet was $14.50 online, so it is not that cheap, but the taste is definitely worth it!

 

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