Sunday, March 26, 2006

IMBB 24: Sesame Soup Makes Miso Happy

It’s not that I’ve deliberately been keeping anything from you, but it occurred to me that I have neglected for a long while to write about something I prepare much more frequently than chocolate homentashn or hand-ground za’atar.
When there is no time to make anything else, I will usually make sesame-miso soup. I started adding sesame paste to miso soup a few years ago when I saw it done at a local restaurant, and subsequently found that roasted sesame paste, if you have some, is very simpatico to miso, the mild fuzzy bitterness of the sesame tempering the miso’s raw woodiness.

You can serve the soup with noodles, or make the noodles a separate course on their own. Either way, you will be able to bring this is in well under thirty minutes.

Sesame Miso Soup with or without Noodles

One ounce noodles, if you want noodles (ramen, soba, whole wheat spaghetti)
1 rounded teaspoon white miso
1 rounded teaspoon mellow barley miso (or misos of your choice)
1 teaspoon roasted sesame tahini
1 small block (about 4 ounces) tofu, blanched briefly in boiling water, cut into small pieces
1 small handful tender greens, torn up (most frequently this will be arugula. Baby spinch leaves, baby bok choy or choy sum work well too. This time I used choy sum)
A small bit of crumbled dried seaweed, if you have some
If you have some prepared kimchee that is just perfect, if not, add a few drops hot sesame pepper oil
Shoyu (soy sauce. If you are using a darker miso, you may want to skip the spy sauce altogether)
Toasted sesame oil

If you are making noodles to go with the soup, begin by cooking the noodles in boiling salted water. Combine the misos and sesame paste in a large bowl and mix them together with a fork. Gradually drizzle a few drops of boiling water (if making noodles, use the pasta water) into the bowl and mix until the miso mixture becomes liquid. Add the tofu and greens and optional ingredients to the bowl and pour in more boiling water until the miso is at the desired level of concentration (about 2 cups). That is all the cooking the greens get. Season with a few drops of shoyu and toasted sesame oil.

This hardly takes longer than the time you need to boil the water.

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