sábado, 9 de janeiro de 2016

MISO SOUP, SHORT GRAIN BROWN RICE, STEWED ADZUKI BEANS, APPLE PUREE




This is the very first recipe of the beginner’s classes I had with Natália almost six years ago! I made some adaptations both because I didn’t have all the ingredients and because I decided to try something different.
It is a full menu, with soup, main course and dessert.
Desserts are seldom cooked and served at home. Indeed, not only was I told that they should be seldom served but also I do not have the time and, above all, I can do well without the extra calories.
However, the apple purée is a classic since it very easily and quickly cooked. All that can be said about is that it is a perfect dessert to the cold season.

Menu
Miso soup
Short grain brown rice
Stewed adzuki beans
Apple purée

Miso soup


Ingredients (serves 2)
Water, 1 tsp of barley miso (*) per serving, a bit of “daikon” (dried radish), ¼ onion and ½ carrot thickly chopped, a bit of pumpkin chopped in small cubes; 1 bit of wakamé seaweed, fresh herbs to garnish (chives) or finely chopped leak.
My favourite miso is rice – not surprisingly since my favourite food is rice. But barley is less concentrated and appropriate for this season since the temperatures are pretty high (17.ºC in January in a city located in parallel 38.º North!!!). I particularly like the non-pasteurized miso, where small grains are still visible. It is so, so tasty!

Preparation
Bring the water to boil in a pan, together with the daikon and the vegetables; after 10 minutes, add the wakamé cut into thick stripes and let it gently boil for another 10/15 minutes. Take out some water from the broth and mix in the miso, Pour the mixture in the broth, allowing it to simmer for some 2 or 3 minutes (the simmering is essential to activate the miso properties).
Serve with chopped fresh herbs, as chives or chopped leek. You can also add some fresh ginger juice or a bit of lemon. Both the herbs and the fresh juice add freshness to the soup and make it more balanced, since the miso is very yang and concentrated.

Short grain brown rice


Ingredients (serves 2)
1 (small) cup of short grain Brown rice, 2 cups of water, 1 stripe of kombu seaweed, a bit of salt.
Preparation
Cleanse the rice carefully and soak it with the stripe of kombu (ideally for 6-8 hours). Then drain the rice and put the kombu, the drained rice and fresh water (not the soaking one) in a pressure cooker and bring to the boil, add a pinch of salt and close the cooker. When the cooker gets the pressure on, lower the fire (not so much that the pressure is turned off), put the pan on a plate to diffuse the heat, and cook for 40/45 minutes.
Notes
Cooked in this way, the final result is very well cooked rice, with unaltered grains and quite tasty. It is very yang so it should be alternated with less yang methods, such as cooking it in a traditional pan with 3 measures of water per measure of rice, where the result is a creamier rice.
When using seaweeds, the amount of salt should be reduced. Seaweeds add minerals to our food, in which sodium is included.
Sometimes I cook the rice with barley. The proportions are 2/3 of rice to 1/3 of barley: Other cereals, such as millet, oat or wheat can also be used.
I served the rice topped with toasted sesame seeds.

Stewed adzuki beans


Ingredients
Adzuki beans, water, a tripe of kombu, 2 striped onions, a bit of pumpkin cut into Small cubes, olive oil, fresh coriander to garnish.
Preparation
Cleanse the beans and soak them overnight with the kombu. Drain the beans and put the kombu, the drained beans and enough fresh water - at least 4 measures to 1 measure of beans - in a pressure cooker and bring to the boil, add a pinch of salt and close the cooker. When the cooker gets the pressure on, lower the fire (not so much as to allow the pressure to turn off) and cook for 40/45 minutes. The beans should be well cooked and soft but unbroken. Should they cook too much they will break and the result will not be the same (we are not preparing a purée…)
Meanwhile, in another pan, lightly sauté the chopped onion with a drop of olive oil and a pinch of salt until it becomes golden, then add the pumpkin cubes with a pinch of salt. Let it cook for 10 minutes and add the cooked beans with a bit of its cooking water. Gently stir for another 10 minutes, season to taste and served garnished with fresh chopped coriander.
Notes
Other kinds of beans can be used for this stew such as black soya beans or our traditional Portuguese beans (red, white, “catarino”, “manteiga”) or chickpeas or green lentils. Red lentils or friar beans are not so appropriate.
Should you like it, you can also season with a pinch of cumin powder, which helps the digestion of the beans.


In the original recipe, the main course was completed with broccoli which were replaced with green beans lightly boiled with very few water and a bit of olive oil and salt.


Pickles
Turnip seasoned with ume su
Grate the desired amount of turnip, season with ume sue; it can be served immediately or after some time; should there be leftovers they can be used for about a week.







Pressed vegetables with salt
Finely cut carrot, onion and white cabbage. Sprinkle with salt and tighten with both hands (as if you were washing them) until the salt penetrates the vegetables; put the vegetables in a presser or, if you don’t have one, in a glass container with a weight on top, for at least a couple of hours. Serve drained (as the salt makes the water to come out of the vegetables). You can keep the pressed vegetables in the refrigerator for a week or so (the longest period I have tried so far is 3 weeks and they were fine). 

Takuan (long pickled white raddish with salt and bran rice, not home made)

Apple purée
Ingredients
Golden apples, a pinch of salt, lemon zest, 1 cinnamon stick
Preparation
Wash the apples, peel and cut them in halves, which should be immediately soaked in salted water for 1 minute and then placed in a large pan, with the plain part of the halves facing the base of the pan. Add the salt, the lemon zest and the cinnamon stick. Cover the pan. Keep in strong fire for 5/10 minutes, then lower the fire and maintain for 20 minutes. Take off the lemon peel and the cinnamon stick and purée the apples with a blender.
Season with lemon (or orange) zest. I used finely chopped almonds, which added some fat and protein to the dessert.



Note
Should you not purée the apples, the result will also be a delicious one, just make sure that they do not overcook; like the beans, the idea is to have soft and unbroken apples. The seasoning is the same. For a more sophisticated ending, you can add a cup of kuzu dissolved in water and let it simmer until becoming creamy. The apples shall have a jellified touch that adds to its glamourous look! 
I have posted this last version several times, the first one in 2011

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