Thursday, October 13, 2011

Miso soup with swiss chard and kabocha squash

A friend recently sent a link to a website listing a myriad of miso soup recipes to tantalize the palate of (in particular) Americans who are used to seeing the same miso soup nearly everywhere they go. I always keep some miso paste in my fridge as a pantry staple, as it is quite useful to have on hand. It can be added to other soups to add some body to the broth, and if you have (as I do) miso paste that is made with dashi (fish stock) already, then you are halfway to miso soup already, minus the tasty add-ins.
Check out this link, if you need to jump-start your miso soup creativity! http://www.japanesefoodreport.com/2009/12/how-to-cook-miso-soup-66-ways.html

I bought a large kabocha squash at the store, roasted it whole in the oven (after stabbing it several times with a large knife to avoid catastrophic squash explosion), and used it in a variety of dishes this week, but I have already made this miso soup several times over and it is just delightful.
I tossed cubed firm tofu in whole wheat flour and gomashio, which is a japanese condiment that I bought at a local co-op but you could make it yourself easily. It is comprised of salt, toasted sesame seeds, and mine also has seaweed in it. I fried the tofu in vegetable oil and placed it on a paper towel to drain. I sliced some roasted kabocha squash into bite-sized pieces, and blanched several swiss chard leaves in a pot of boiling water, then sliced them lengthwise so they were also more bite-sized. The swiss chard, kabocha, and some wakame were then added to the miso soup broth, and served at last with the tofu added in just before serving. The kabocha added a little color to the broth and was perfect with the wakame and chard. This fried tofu, additionally, was probably the most satisfying fried tofu I've ever made--I'll definitely use the gomashio in the future!

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