Miso Delight

Chicago has this fantastic thing called Restaurant Week for 10 days in early February.  I believe it originated in New York and has caught on in a few cities, as well as  in our northwest suburbs and even our Edison Park neighborhood.  The premise is this:  restaurants offer a prix fixe tasting menu (lunch or dinner) so you can test out a restaurant that is either out of your price range or out of your culinary comfort zone.  Restaurants usually highlight their best known or most popular dishes (Morton’s signature steak, for example) to get people in the door during what is normally terrible weather here in our slushy city.

A couple of years ago, after about 20 inches of snow fell on our parking challenged streets, Jin, Husband and I went to a fabulous bistro called Browntrout.  One of their Restaurant Week features was a miso ramen bowl, about 2 quarts deep, filled with steamy broth, veggies, a soft boiled egg, and lots of tofu.  It. Was. Incredible.  Sadly, Browntrout’s owners decided to move on to a new project and closed down just a few months later.  I was so sad that I only dined there the one time.

I came across this recipe in November’s Good Housekeeping:

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/easy/a35273/miso-spinach-noodles/

I tore it out, hoping to recreate that miso bowl I had at Browntrout.

Ingredients

  • 8 c. water
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 c. miso paste
  • 4 oz. thin rice noodles
  • 5 oz. baby spinach
  • 1 lb. silken or soft tofu, cut into small cubes
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, halved

Directions

  1. In 4-quart saucepot, heat water and sugar to boiling on high. Reduce heat to medium.
  2. In medium whisk miso paste and 1/2 cup boiling water from pot until smooth. To pot, add rice noodles; cook until tender, stirring. Add spinach, tofu, and sesame oil, miso mixture, stirring until spinach wilts. Serve with eggs.
About 330 cals, 17 g protein, 38 g carbs, 13 g fat (2 g fat), 3 g fiber, 1,375 mg sodium.This recipe came together in no time.  Our water dispenser has a hot and cold water feature, so I measured out the water for my noodles from there and had a boiling pot in a matter of minutes.  I substituted vermicelli for the rice noodles because, clearance pasta.  While the noodles cooked, I handled the rest of the ingredients and boiled the eggs.  My miso didn’t dissolve completely in the 1/2 cup of water, so I threw it in the pot once the noodles were cooked and whisked it a little bit more in there.

Verdict:  Thumbs up!  The broth was salty with a richness from the sesame and the miso.  I was still finding clumps of it even after whisking, so when I make this again, I’d pull at least a cup of water out of the pot to make sure it was completely dissolved (the undissolved clumps were grainy and a little bitter).  I didn’t break up my vermicelli before cooking, so the long strands were awkward to eat (but you are supposed to slurp a noodle bowl, right?). This is a lovely comfort food (I had a little stomach bug yesterday and soup really hit the spot today) that would be casual yet fancy for company.  The easy prep is a huge bonus that would free you up to hang out with your guests.  Definitely a keeper.

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