All of a sudden, Rachael made me realize that I could indeed make my own Miso soup. And that it was not that difficult. I trusted her (the same way I hope you trust me when I write that my daily cooking is not that difficult at all!) and decided to take her up on the challenge to make Miso soup this week.
First, it meant getting the proper ingredients. And since my Japanese is, to say the least, non-existent, I did something I generally don't do that is: a grocery list. Well, I really just put down on a piece of shredded children-drawing-recycled paper the few ingredients I needed to purchase to make dashi (broth) and then the soup itself. With it in hand (and all the other more common things I needed on my head-list), I headed for the supermarket. I found all the dry ingredients and the tofu but could not find the MAIN ingredient, ie Miso. Since I could not find Miso, I decided to take a trip to another supermarket that could carry all the ingredients. Un autre jour! No big deal! Except that that other day was Friday and that we were bound for a heavy snow storm in the city (the second one this year). While it may sound "light" snow compared to what Canada or some other states in the US can get, Philadelphians were getting
In other words, they were all grocery shopping. As if they had to stock for weeks. It was really crazy. On top of that a lot of things happened to me that same day. I lost my Japanese ingredients list (so much for making lists!!)!!!!! Fortunately, I vaguely remembered the three main ingredients I was supposed to get: kombu, katsuobuchi, wakame, tofu and miso. It also happened that I forgot my purse at music class, which means that I had to give up my spot in the supermarket line to get my purse back and then to stand in line again. All of that with a two-year-old in a stroller... Anyway, we made it home with all the ingredients... and since the weather was really bad on Saturday, I made Miso soup.
As I was explaining to my husband what ingredients were in the Miso soup he just had, I looked more closely at the Katsuobushi packaging and discovered ....a recipe for French Onion Soup! Well, an Asia version of soupe à l'oignon! That made us laugh! Comme quoi, everything is cultural when it comes to cooking, n'est-ce-pas?
This whole experience made me want to try to open up my family horizon when it comes to food : Indian, Chinese, Japanese, African, etc. This is my new personal challenge for the coming months. Cooking something different from what my family is used to at least twice a month... It will give us a chance to talk about other countries, other people... and to taste new things! Any good food blog/cook book you recommend?
One of the first challenges is to find a good recipe to feed tofu to my family. I will ask my friend Minh from Hodo Soy Beanery for help when it comes to tofu! He made me taste some of his tofu a few years ago when they were starting their company and that was an eye-opening experience. And since then, I do believe that tofu can be something different from this bland and spongy stuff....I'll keep you posted.
In the meantime, I think that we could all invest a little bit of time to expose our children to other types of food. It does not have to be fancy: you could well start with a vegetable or cheese that you have never purchased... (but please, no offense, but if you want a French recipe for French onion soup, come back to me, right?) So, next time you go grocery shopping, challenge yourself! Bon Appétit!
Ingredients (recipes from La Fuji Mama)
For the dashi (stock):
- 4 cups (1 liter ) water
- 3 pieces/sprigs Kombu
- 1/2 cup loosely packed katsuobushi (bonito flakes)
For the soup:
- 3 1/2 cups (875 ml) dashi
- 3 Tbs miso
- a few sprigs/pieces dry wakame, cut into small pieces and soaked in cold water for 5 minutes
- 1/2 cup edamame
- Tofu (cut into small cubes)
My Personal Comments:
- Soak kombu in cold water for 15 minutes
- Put water over medium heat. Just before boiling, remove from heat and drop the bonito flakes.
- Start soaking wakame in cold water
- After 3-4 minutes, strain the stock over a strainer covered with a coffee filter
- Bring 3 1/2 cups stock to a boil.
- Take 1/2 cup of the stock and pour it over the miso and whisk so as to dilute the miso.
- Add wakame and edamame to the stock and simmer for 1-2 minutes
- Add miso and tofu and reheat (but do not boil). Serve immediately
- If you want to read about different types of miso, go to Rachel's webpage.
- You could add white fish, scallions, green onions, mushrooms to your Miso instead of tofu and wakame. I used edamame because that's what I had at home (you can't see it on the picture because they drowned!)