With Chinese miso, and why the pattzukis…

I’m trying a new condiment. Well, it’s new for me. I’ve used it to give a Chinese flavor the patties of azuki beans.

Yes, again, those patties. I really love them. I should give them a name. pattzukis ? Why the obsession ? Oh, you don’t know who is posting. The truth I am an American teen, in someone else’s body, and I eat burgers all the time. And I’ve found I like liked the azuki ones better than the those made of beef ? dog ? donkey ? Well what do they give us in fast-food ? We prefer not knowing. And azuki beans are ideal for me. I get them dry cheaply since they are local. Prices really depend on geography. Exotic beans are overpriced. For instance, I buy kidney beans for occasions as they are about 10 times the price of my azuki beans.
They are not soy, so no overdose of phyto hormones. Bonus : azuki means “small beans” as they are tiny like lentils. They cook quicker that most others, in about 20 minutes (after 24 hours of soaking).

click for other posts with pattzukis

Chinese miso made with soybeans. The color of miso depends on the ingredients to make it, that goes from nearly white (rice), to nearly black (soy beans) with all shades of brown (mix of rice, soy, wheat, other grains). This one is a cousin of Japanese hatcho miso, that is also very dark, but usually firmer and not so sweet, by it’s related.

The batter (azuki, ground sesame, potato starch) is flavored with the Chinese miso, grated garlic, ginger, chili pepper and cumin. I added the minced feet of the shrooms.

Stir-fried shiitake mushrooms.

Edamame and sesame mushipan steamed bread complete the meal.

Eating out of the box – Indoor picnic

It’s still too cold to eat a bento box under the cherry blossoms… that are not yet opened here.

Top floor : hot silky tofu with borstch. Garnished by shiso leaves.

Haccho miso and green chili soup.

Base : rice and kinpira.

Making kinpira

Brown rice with a umeboshi (pickled plum).

Left-over of carrot and hijiki kinpira.

Leftover of a stir-fry kinpira : spinach renkon (lotus root) cut in big chunks, garlic, chili pepper, soy sauce.

As a dessert : a few litchis (frozen).

Home-made condiments : karashi miso for jajamen.

Gourmande’s green chili karashi miso. The sauce to make :

Jajamen (click here).

How many sauces and sauce bases do you need in your kitchen ? Er… 476, 477… It’s endless.
You run all over town to find them, they won’t be cheap, and/or you get will them in a bucket and to use it up before it’s stale, you would have cook with it daily for 6 persons. And the list of ingredients can be scary.

The thing is there are some sauces that can’t make at home. I am not making my soy sauce nor my nuoc nam. Some are not so quick and easy to make. I don’t make my vinegars, but I could.
Many are a combination of simpler ingredients that you already have in your closet. Or if you buy the ingredients, you can use them in many different recipes.

Note that there “karashi” means mustard usually, but it can mean “hot spice”. “Togarashi” means chili pepper. You don’t care… but well, if you eat Japanese food, they may serve you a mustard based sauce also called “karashi miso”.

Togarashi . It’s a frozen Korean chili. A hot one.

Gourmande’s green chili karashi miso

2 tbs of brown chunky wheat miso
1 tbs of black hatcho miso
1 fresh green hot chili
1 tbs of kurozato (Okinawan black cane sugar)
1 cup of sake
2 cups of water

+ 2 tbs of fragrant sesame oil

Open the chili, get rid of the seeds and white parts. Mince finely the flesh. Put all the ingredients except the oil in a sauce pan. With a spatula, mix well the miso. Bring to boil, simmer about 20 minutes, till half of water is gone.
Add the oil, continue 2 minutes on low it while stirring.
You can use immediately or keep it a while in a jar in your fridge.

I find it convenient to prepare it for 1 chili, but it doesn’t matter how much you make in a batch. You get about 1 cup. It’s well for a dozen of servings.

Use : jajamen, and to flavor stir-fries, Asian sauces, etc. It is closed to Chinese sauce doubanjang (tobanjan), so it can replace it in most recipes.

Of course, you can substitute chili pepper, sugar, sake (alcohol)… to adapt to the ingredients you can find.


Miso is a salty paste of longly fermented grains, and soy. It’s often mix. They are not all equivalent. The ingredients differ greatly and taste too.
They are often sold in boxes/packs of 500g. They can last one year in the fridge if you close well the package. If you buy only one, take it brown. With one of each of these 3, you can do most Japanese recipes :

White colored = sweet

White miso (chunky).
It contains lots of rice, a little soy. It is naturally very sweet. The higher % of rice, the sweeter and whiter. Some smooth version have even added sweetener.

Brown colored = a little strong

Wheat miso. This one contains wheat and soy. Other brown ones contain rice and soy.

Black color = strong

Hatcho miso, hacho miso. Only soy. The paste is black. It is used to make “red” miso soup. On the photo, it is “diluted”. You buy it as a thick paste.

The ones that appear to be black and dark beige to brown have some bitterness that you want for this sauce. The very light colored types of miso are very sweet, not so well here. The texture of miso, chunky or smooth matters less as they pound or pass the chunky in a blender, it’s the same thing. I like my sauce with chunky texture.

When seaweeds leave the sea, and the secret perfumes of Lapsang Souchong

Hijiki is the black seaweed you sometimes see in Japanese meals. This “new vegetable” is also called hijiki as its shape look similarly.

Funny how the fish seems to be jumping out of the soup.
I had the “hijiki” to miso soup rich in shiitake mushrooms, and iriko (dried small fish)… Haccho miso used here is dark and strong in taste.

Grated daikon radish is a fresh topping for a genmai (brown rice) domburi… here with the hot spice mix shichimi togarashi. Other toppings are natto, leeks, strong mustard, egg.

Cal529.5 F12.6g C98.8g P26.3g

This meal was a bit strong in flavor. Who said “stinky” ? With natto, it was slighly. And spicy… so what can I drink ? Yes, a pinard (gross red wine), but my limit is very low, I already had my quota of alcohol for the week. And getting more does not help feeling well in the heat.

I was given Lapsang Souchong, the smoked Chinese tea so popular among rich Europeans in 19th century. They found it “stinked” too. LOL. Well, the 2 first brew have a strong smoked after-taste, a bit like smoke-sausage. It wouldn’t be pleasant with sweets, but it’s great at the end of a meal like that.
Then after, the next brews, the color is lighter, but not the flavors. There are like fireworks of fragrances. Smoke taste no longer covers them. It’s like camphor, pine and flowers in your tea cup.

Dry soba for rainy season

And now it rains, rains, rains… Soba served *dry*, no sauce, no tsuyu, no soup. And big aka-dashi (red miso soup).

Black hattcho miso soup, mizuna leaves, yaki-fu (gluten croutons), green sansho peppercorn.

There 3 main sorts of miso for soup.
The nearly white one made mostly with rice, it’s “Kyoto miso”. Taste is sweet and creamy.
The common beige one is made with rice, soy, other cereals. Average taste.
The black one is “hattcho miso” (haccho miso) and contains little or no rice to sweeten it. Taste is stronger. It gives a red miso soup called “aka-dashi”.

The soba, topped with myoga (baby ginger), sesame, and seasoned by a little amount of black miso and black vinegar.

Cal 346.3 F2.4g C65.3g P17.7g

Second half of June 2010 : Illustrated Menu

First half of June 2010 : Illustrated Menu