fall in soups

サツマイモの赤出し ー dark miso soup with sweet potatoes

It was a bit since the last gathering of the Washoku Warriors. Now we're back --- with comfy soups! I was craving tonjiru since I had seen it the last time. This time it was listed and I considered to choose it. But there was also the satsumaimo no aka dashi...

Potatoes, especially sweet potatoes, are great in miso broth. Moreover this dish is quick and simple, without any rare ingredients. Exactly what I currently need! (I'm also not an experienced meat eater resp. cooker or buyer. This was another reason why the tonjiru had to wait.) My challenge was the hatchō miso. I don't have problems with miso in general. I can even enjoy it, when it is offered to me in the early morning. But I'm mainly used to medium colored, country or home style types. White miso is nice, too: It's mild and a bit sweet and one can cook a lot of different fancy things with it. Hatchō miso, though, is dark. Very dark. And the contrary of mild and sweet. I had bought it once. And it tasted like... well, anyway not good. The recipe says that any darker, so-called "red", variety would work. But I decided to use the suggested one. So I bravely headed out to buy hatchō miso a second time. And, whew, this brand wasn't as acrid. Japanese sweet potatoes have pink skin and yellow flesh. Those which are ordinarily sold here are pale red with orange flesh. I had to replace them. And I added pumpkin. At the end I also decided not to use the chives. These which I had were very thin and somehow they didn't appear to be adequate.

The hatchō (!) miso soup tasted good. I especially liked its color, a deep brown, like dark amber. With the smokey aroma of the bonito flakes the soup has become kind of... should I say "manly"? Earthy but elegant. Fine.

how to...

Cook your soup as usual, but seperate the vegetables from the liquid before adding the miso. Stir the miso into the broth, then sprinkle an extra handful of bonito flakes over it. When they have set, strain the liquid. You can reheat the soup but, to save the aroma, better do not bring it to a boil again. Like most Japanese soups satsumaimo no aka dashi should be eaten along with other small dishes.


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