Sunday, December 17, 2006

"Sinigang na Bangus sa Miso" (Milkfish in Miso Soup)

What exactly is in that muddy looking paste stuff besides salt?

Different Japanese locales make hundreds of different kinds of miso; in Kyushu they eat a wheat miso, in Nagoya they eat a "beans only" miso. In Tokushima and most of the rest of the world, most people eat rice miso. The basic ingredients for this are soybean (daizu), malted rice (kouji), salt and water.

Even in miso's home country of Japan, the soybeans used in miso are imported either from China or the U.S. Most miso is produced in large factories, but it can also be made in small, artisan-style batches at home. Miso production basically involves three stages; the preparation of the soybeans, the malting of the rice and finally the fermentation of the combined ingredients. Heat is essential for each of these stages.
Beans are placed into a vat with water and left to stand for 24 hours. Once this is done the excess water is removed from the beans by steaming them for a couple of hours. While the beans are soaking, the grain, usually rice, is placed into a tank at a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius. Bacteria is added and the rice is left to malt for a day, then aerated to remove any unpleasant odors produced by the bacteria. Once the soybean and grain are prepared they are combined with salt and water to create a miso precursor. The resulting mix is deposited into huge plastic or wooden containers and then placed into heated rooms and left to ferment.

In a controlled indoor environment the fermentation process takes about one month to complete, giving off heat, gas and a liquid which was the original source of tamari soy sauce. Naturally, outdoor fermented miso, called daikan takes much longer to ferment and requires closer supervision. It is now a luxury product, more expensive than miso fermented indoors, generally acknowledged as being superior in quality; having a softer texture and a deeper, richer flavor. The taste varies according to the percentage of salt in the miso; this may be from as little as 2% up to 14%, ranging from sweet to spicy in taste and fine to coarse in texture.

Types of Miso:

  • Akamiso - medium strength, made with barley or rice, also called sendai miso, inaka miso, red miso, aka miso
  • Genmai miso - brown rice based
  • Gozen - a mildly spicy taste, muddy brown color
  • Hatche miso or Mame miso - aged up to 3 years, very pungent, dark brown
  • Kogane - a slightly salty taste, a golden color
  • Kokyujoaka - much coarser in texture with the rice visible, a reddish brown color
  • Mugi miso - made from barley, sweeter with reddish brown color
  • Shinsumiso - salty but mild, definite yellow color
  • Shiromiso - sweet and mild taste, less salty, a whitish or light yellow color

For the recipe of "Sinigang na Bangus sa Miso". Good for 5 persons.

You'll need:
  • 1/2 kg of milkfish, gutted & scaled, cut diagonally into 5 slices
  • salt
  • 4 tbsps of cooking oil
  • 50 grams of ginger, cut into strips
  • 1/2 head garlic, pounded finely
  • 2 large red onion, sliced thinly
  • 4 plump red tomatoes, sliced thinly
  • a slice, about 150 grams miso (I used the light-colored miso, usually sold in Philippine wet markets)
  • 3 tbsps of fish sauce (patis)
  • 3 cups of rice wash or water
  • 1 pouch of sinigang sa kamias powder
  • 2 pcs finger chilis
  • 1 medium raddish, cut at 1/2" thick diagonally
  • a bunch of mustard leaves, cut at 1/2" length

Here's how:
In a bowl, combine the first-two ingredients. Mix. Stand for 5 minutes. In a non-stick pan, lightly fry both sides of fish. Remove from pan.

Meanwhile, prepare and slice the other ingredients.

Back to the pan, saute garlic and ginger until garlic is rich golden brown. Add the onion and tomatoes, cook until very limp. Pour the fish sauce, saute until very fragrant. Put the miso and mash carefully. Cook for 2 minutes, keep stirring, until blended.

Add the rice wash, fish, chilis, raddish and sinigang sa kamias powder. Stir gently. Cover. Bring to boil. Simmer in low fire for 10 minutes. Put the mustard leaves, cook until done.

Serve immediately while hot.


madgemartz said...

thanks for sharing the recipe.i was successful with the dish i prepared.more power and recipe sharing

zald_phil said...

thank you very much, this is really helpful! more power to you!

bhebhe091502 said...

thank you for sharing this recipe.. =)

bhebhe091502 said...

thank you for sharing this recipe.. =)