This past Sunday, I joined Chef Hiroki Abe of En Japanese Brasserie to cook with miso, part of a series of workshops at the restaurant. Great workshop! We videotaped the session, so soon I'll have material for you to view on You Tube. But Abe-san's miso dishes were so fantastic, I thought, why wait for the video? Let's talk about them -- now. First up, this simple, incredible dish, called miso nikomi udon.
Nikomi udon is a snap to prepare: Add dashi, mirin and soy sauce to a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add sliced napa cabbage, onions, carrots, scallions (or negi) and udon noodles. Dissolve miso into the liquid. Gently simmer for 15 minutes, and it's ready. The idea behind this dish, as Abe-san explained to the class, is to give the noodles and veggies time to absorb the miso and other flavors. By the way, Abe-san used fresh-frozen Sanuki udon, toothsome, thick udon available in frozen blocks at Japanese markets. Just rinse the noodles under hot running water before you cook with them.
Here are the ingredients. Abe-san works in metric, so go with the flow, or convert! 80 grams awase miso (a pre-packaged mixed red and white savory miso, or any savory miso is fine); 1 liter dashi; 50 cc mirin; 10 cc Japanese soy sauce; 2 blocks of udon; 100 grams napa cabbage; 50 grams onions; 50 grams carrots; 1/2 bunch scallions (or negi).
Thank you for this, Abe-san! (Photos for the miso entries by Jesse Alexander, EN managing partner -- thanks, Jesse!)