I use miso paste a lot in my cooking..some of you might be wondering what is that dark paste found in health food supermarkets?
Miso is a traditional Japanese food and it means “fermented beans”. It is produced by the fermentation of soybeans and sometimes also grains (usually rice or barley), together with “koji”, which is the term used for fermented products such as miso, sake or soy sauce that used the fungus Aspergillus. It is found in the form of a thick paste, varying in color (from yellow to red to brown), and it’s mostly know for miso soup, but it is a seasoning for many other dishes. It’s usually salty and has a very umami taste to it, but some kinds are sweet instead.
To make miso soy beans are soaked, rinsed and cooked. Then they are transferred to big wooden containers where it will ferment for variable times depending on the desired type of miso. The duration of fermentation is responsible for the different coloring in miso pastes. And the taste is due to the fermentation time, but mostly from the quality and kind of ingredients used at the beginning.
It’s considered a health food thanks to its digestive benefits due to the “friendly” bacteria and the vitamin B12 found in fermented foods. It is used often instead of salt and you want to make sure to use it “raw”, adding it at the end of the cooking. I mainly use it to make dressings with it, or add it to dips/sauces to give it that umami taste, or use it to season brown rice, etc..
·INGREDIENTS·(for 4-6 servings)
→ 350 gr wild rice
→ 600 gr pumpkin
→ 100 gr sunflower seeds, soaked for couple hours or overnight and rinsed
→ 2 tbls lemon juice
→ 1 tsp miso paste
→ 1 tsp mustard
→ extra virgin olive oil
→ salt & pepper
→ herbs (I used dill & chives)
Preheat oven to 180 C or 350 F.
Rinse the rice and cook according to package instructions (usually 1 cup rice to 2 cups water), add some salt and 1 clove of garlic to the pot, once boiling, lower the heat, cover and simmer until cooked and water has evaporated.
In the meantime clean and take the pumpkin’s skin off, and cut into big wedges. drizzle some olive oil and coarse salt and bake in the oven for 20-30 min until a fork easily slides into the pumpkin.
Blend the pumpkin, sunflower seeds, miso, lemon, mustard, 2 tbls of olive oil, pepper. Add some water if it seems to thick.
Serving time: Place some rice in a bowl, add the pumpkin sauce, add some chopped herbs, some crunched walnuts, a drizzle of tahini and a drizzle of olive oil.