As part of our focus on a ‘wellness’ lifestyle, i’ve been looking at different ways to prepare our meals keeping the flavours feisty and tasting delicious, whilst being relatively healthy. One of my favourite ingredients is Miso with its deep rich umami flavour. Like many people, I first encountered Miso in a soup format, alongside sushi with bits of tofu and wakame floating inside it. But its more than that. Miso is made from fermented soya bean, or even from Rice. It’s widely available in supermarkets now and because it is ‘live’ fermented, it’s considered healthy as a probiotic element. Fermentation can take anything from 2 weeks to 2 months , depending what depth of flavour you want. I have bought white miso which is the mildest version, but I have also used a darker version which is made with fermented rice and soybean. For my purposes which is mainly as a marinade ingredient, i find them interchangeable, although i do add a touch more sugar and some water when using the dark miso. For those of you who’ve tasted the famous Black miso cod at Nobu, my recipe is based on this, with a little less sugar and a healthy dose of grated ginger.
Using chicken thighs or a piece of Salmon fillet, I make the marinade ideally the day before and then leave overnight in fridge with the meat or fish inside it.
For the Miso marinade (serves 4)
3 Tbs Miso
1 tsp Sugar
3 Tbs Mirin
1 tsp Grated ginger
1 Tbs light soy
1Tbs sesame seeds (optional)
Mix all of the above well together and then add your meat or fish – I suggest chicken thighs, salmon or cod fillet.
Leave to marinate for at least 2 hours and then put onto a foil lined grill tray and grill under a high hear (or barbecue in the summer). You want it to catch a little and be a nice deep brown colour with slightly charred spots in places. Watch it as it will catch quickly and go from golden to burnt swiftly! Garnish with shredded spring onions.
This marinade will keep in a sealed jar in the fridge for about a week. Another great use of this is with my favourite vegetable, the humble Aubergine. Cut the aubergine in half and take off the top stem. Score lightly but not through the skin. Brush with vegetable oil and a sprinkle of salt, then bake in the oven until soft but not collapsed. Take it out and spread a thick layer of the miso marinade over the baked aubergine flesh. Now put it under a hot grill for a couple of minutes until it is brown and bubbling. The sweet/salty/rich umami flavour is the perfect accompaniment to the grilled aubergine.