Monday, February 7, 2011

Miso Plus Many

For a while I was posting about my theory of miso + 1, which states that you can make a satisfying soup by taking miso and adding only one additional ingredient, be it mussels, daikon, or nothing.

Well, sometimes you have to travel far to find your way back home. I've added dozens of ingredients (though one at a time) to various mugs and bowls of miso throughout the past few years, and I've come back to where I started. And that's a town called Miso Plus Many, population most people who like miso.

Don't get me wrong. I still dream of a world where hot water and miso paste is the default snack for millions of people. It's quick, it's cheap, it's healthy, it's almost stupid it's so doable. And yet I've come to believe that, when it comes to the ultimate miso, of course more is better.

This most recent miso was born from a dead chicken. I was bubbling a pot of stock from all my leftover bones and veggies scraps (note the sad carrots bottom right) and was about to make something else for dinner, when I realized I might was well base the meal around my vat of delicious, hot, fresh stock. I added miso paste to the stock as well as (tons of) chopped turnip greens, black rice noodles, a smidgen of cayenne, a drizzle of sesame oil.

It was thick, it was hot, it was rich, it was salty, it was addictive.

When the turnip greens ran out we made it again with spinach and celery (going with the use whatever you have theory). Also great. The nuttiness from the noodles and sesame gave the impression of peanuts, the starch from the noodles added body, and as chefs around the world have come to appreciate, fat and miso become fast friends. We hadn't skimmed the stock and so the particles of chicken fat and fermented soy beans linked up like a double helix of deliciousness, even though I hate how common the word "deliciousness" has become and would never use it if it weren't true.

So I'm back to miso plus many. If I miss miso plus one, I can always subtract.

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