Miso paste with magical healing properties
By Express News Service | Published: 20th May 2017 04:44 AM |
BENGALURU: I have been passionate about cooking and food from a very young age. Even before I got into the reputed Sophia Catering College in Mumbai, I worked for a small catering company in Bandra where I grew from serving at parties to getting a position of sous chef in the kitchen. In those days, it was considered to be a big deal, an honour, to be able to enter the kitchen without formal training.
It’s here where my passion for cooking evolved over 15 hours shifts of endless cutting, chopping and cooking.
Over the years as I began to travel and explore various cuisines. I found myself gravitate towards Japanese cuisine, and in retrospect, this could be a result of the similarity to French cooking when it comes to discipline and precision. During trials for our first Shizusan in Pune, I began experimenting with the wonderful Miso (fermented soy beans paste) which coincided with my R&D for 212 All Good (our café & bar in Mumbai). I used Miso in pasta, in one bowl lunches, heck I even tried a dessert with it once. This wonderful paste has magical healing properties and is fantastic when it comes to building gut-friendly bacteria.
My experiments with Miso had me create a miso-based almond sauce with squid ink pasta which to be honest tasted pretty damn good. On the dessert front, let’s say it’s a bit of an acquired taste. My inspiration for the idea was the Red Bean Mooncake enjoyed across Asia during festive times. Let’s just say that I have a couple of more trials on that one before it goes on the menu. I think miso, chocolate and strawberry could work for me one of these days.
My star dish however is the Taiwanese Miso Milk Soup. During my travel to Taipei, I discovered a small shophouse serving this and while I was familiar with the classic Miso Soup made by the Japanese - asture, simple and soulful - I had never heard of a version with milk. The chef there told me that since most of Southeast Asia doesn’t have fresh dairy (which explains their use of condensed milk and milk powder), the Taiwanese take great pride in showing off their fresh milk. I guess it’s sort of their way of saying, “Hey people of Japan, we see your miso soup, and we raise you the Miso Milk soup.’
The classic Japanese miso soup of light, full on umami and really bursting with flavor. Who knew that a simple addition of milk by the Taiwanese would convert this simple light soup into a meal on its own as the broth now becomes slightly creamier without losing the addictive umami quotient.
- Chef Paul Kinny, Director Culinary Bellona Hospitality