Red Mullet in Miso

It’s Tuesday morning and we are on our way to our favourite fish monger. No doubt we will be inspired by the fresh fish and seafood on offer. It all looks delicious and yummy, especially the red mullet looks wonderful. It’s such a beautiful fish; red, nearly crimson, with a lovely taste and a very delicate skin. There are actually two very similar kinds, the striped red mullet (rouget de roche) and the red mullet or goatfish (rouget de vase). Don’t worry too much, just go for it.

We will marinate the fillets in miso and then enjoy on Sunday evening as a starter. This technique is called Saikyo Yaki. Best to use is Saikyo miso which is a white, slightly sweet, low sodium miso from Kyoto. The marinated fish is grilled and served with pickled ginger. Originally a way to preserve the fish, it’s now much liked because of the umami and the intriguing combination of flavours and aromas.
We use a standard low sodium white miso and add a bit of sake. This makes the mixture easier to use and supports the flavour.

Sake Pairing

Best served with dry sake. We bought a bottle of  traditional Gekkeikan sake. This is a medium bodied, fresh sake with light floral aromas. In general you’re looking for a touch of acidity, freshness and not too much alcohol.

What You Need

  • Two Fillets of Red Mullet
  • White Miso (preferable with less salt)
  • Sake
  • Pickled Cucumber
  • Karashi (Japanese mustard, optional)

What You Do

Start five days in advance. Mix the white miso with sake, creating a thinner mixture. It must coat the fish for a few days, so don’t make it too thin. Put the fillets in a shallow plate and cover the fillets with the mixture making sure the fish is fully coated. Cover the plate with foil and transfer to the fridge. Check on a daily basis if the fish is still covered.
Using a small spoon carefully remove most of the miso. Rinse the fish with water and dry with kitchen paper. The white flesh should now be slightly orange. Heat a non-stick frying pan until warm, but not hot, through and through. If too hot, the fish will burn. We set our induction hob to 6 (where 9 is the maximum). Add a generous amount of olive oil. Fry the fillets on the skin side and try to keep the fish moving. This way the delicate skin will remain in tact. Turn and fry the meat side, also for 1 or 2 minutes. Serve on a warm plate with pickles and perhaps karashi.

Halibut Marinated in White Miso

Saikyo Yaki

Grilling is an art in its own right in Japan. A simple way is Shioyaki: the fish is salted, left to chill overnight and grilled the next day. An essential element of a Japanese breakfast, together with pickled plums (Umeboshi),  sweet yet savoury omelet (Tamagoyaki), rice, a bowl of miso soup and green tea. As you can imagine a traditional Japanese breakfast is rather nutritious and packed with flavours.

A well known grilling method is Teriyaki: the fish is marinated in a combination of soy sauce, mirin and sake for a few hours and then grilled, with the fish dipped in the sauce several times during the grilling process.

Another way is Saikyo Yaki: the fish is marinated in Saikyo miso for 5 days and then grilled. Saikyo miso is a white, slightly sweet, low sodium miso from Kyoto. The marinated and grilled fish is served with pickled ginger. Originally a way to preserve the fish, it’s now much liked because of the umami and the intriguing combination of flavours and aromas.

Sake Pairing

Best served with dry sake. We prefer Junmai Taru Sake as produced by Kiku-Masamune. The sake is matured in barrels made of the finest Yoshino cedar. The aroma has indeed clear hints of cedar. The sake will clear your palate and allow for a more intense taste of the marinated halibut.

What You Need

  • Two slices of fresh halibut (thin is best)
  • White Miso (preferable with less salt)
  • Pickled Ginger or Cucumber
  • Karashi (Japanese mustard)

What You Do

Start four or five days in advance. Coat the halibut with miso making sure the halibut is fully coated. Cover with foil and transfer to the fridge. Check on a daily basis if the fish is still covered.
Using a small spoon carefully remove most of the miso. Rinse the halibut with water and dry with kitchen paper. The white flesh should now be slightly orange. Heat a non sticky pan until warm, but not hot, through and through. If too hot, the fish will burn. We set our induction hob to 6 (where 9 is the maximum). Add a bit of olive oil and then fry the fish for 2*2 minutes. Serve on a warm plate with pickles and karashi.

 

Haddock Marinated in Miso

Saikyo Yaki

The original recipe is from Kyoto and combines fresh fish with Saikyo miso. This is a white, slightly sweet, low sodium miso. The fish is marinated in miso and then grilled and served with pickled ginger. Lots of umami of course and the intriguing combination of miso and fish. Nowadays salmon is often used when preparing this popular dish.

Our approach is slightly different. We use white fish (haddock preferred, but rouget, halibut or cod are also fine) and marinate it in red miso for four or five days. The flesh will become beautiful deep red and the miso will gently flavour the fish, without overwhelming it. It’s not a subtle starter but the taste is great especially when combined with pickled cucumber and karashi (Japanese mustard). 

Sake Pairing

Best served with a dry sake. We prefer Junmai Taru Sake as produced by Kiku-Masamune. This fine sake is matured in barrels made of the finest Yoshino cedar. The aroma has indeed clear hints of cedar. The sake will clear your palate and allow for a more intense taste of the marinated haddock.

What You Need

  • Two slices of Haddock (thin is best)
  • Red Miso (preferable with less salt)
  • Cucumber Pickles
  • Karashi

What You Do

Start four or five days in advance. Fully coat the haddock with miso. Cover the dish with foil and transfer to the fridge. Check on a daily basis if the fish is still fully coated.
Using a small spoon carefully remove most of the miso. Rinse the haddock with water and dry it with kitchen paper. The white flesh should now be red. Heat a non sticky pan until warm, but not hot, through and through. If too hot, the fish will burn. We set our induction hob to 6 (where 9 is the maximum). Add a bit of olive oil and then fry the fish for 2*2 minutes. Serve on a warm plate with pickles and karashi.

Kimchi Soup

Kimchi Soup

A very tasty soup, nice as a starter to your Korean evening or as a quick and nourishing lunch. Kimchi soup can be made with pork belly or with tofu. We prefer the vegetarian option.
It’s not difficult to prepare kimchi from scratch (see below) but you can also buy kimchi from your local Korean shop.

Here is what you need (soup)

  • Kimchi
  • Onion
  • Garlic clove
  • Spring onion
  • Soybean paste (Korean Doenjang or Japanese Miso)
  • Red chili paste (Korean Gochujang)
  • Fish sauce
  • Tofu

Start by chopping the onion, the garlic and the spring onion. Keep some spring onion for decoration. Fry the garlic and onions in some oil. Add the soybean paste, the red chili paste and the chopped kimchi. Stir fry the mixture because this will enhance the flavours. Add water and leave for 15 minutes. Taste the soup and add fish sauce, soybean paste or red chili paste to your taste. Leave to simmer for another 15 minutes. Then add chunks of tofu and allow to simmer for another 5 minutes. Decorate with spring onion.

Kimchi background

Hipster food or the traditional Korean way of preserving cabbage? The latter of course. But we must admit, all the foodie-talk about Kimchi inspired us to join a workshop at Mediamatic in Amsterdam. Marrit Kuyng Ok Schakel ran an excellent workshop and not only did she share her passion for Korean food and Kimchi, she also showed us how to make our own Kimchi using white cabbage.

Making Kimchi is all about fermentation: a controlled biological process to change ingredients into food that can be preserved. Fermentation is at the heart of our food production. Beer, cheese, wine, bread, yoghurt, tea, coffee, classic Dutch haring et cetera: fermentation is an essential aspect.

 

Here is what you need (kimchi)

  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Salt
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Red chili paste (Korean Gochujang)
  • Fish sauce
  • Spring Onion

The quickest way to make kimchi is by thinly slicing the cabbage, add salt, grated ginger, sliced garlic, red chili paste and fish sauce. The preparation is simple: just mix with your hands (do so for 5 minutes) store in a jar and wait for 5 – 10 days. The fermentation will produce some carbon dioxide so make sure to open the jar on a daily basis. The smell could be rather powerful in the beginning. In this case the amount of salt required depends on how much fish sauce was used. We suggest tasting the mixture and expect between 1% and 2%.

The better way to make kimchi? Slice the cabbage, starting at the bottom, but not completely. Tear the halves apart. Leave the cabbage in water with salt (5% is recommended) for 1-2 hours. Remove the cabbage, wash with cold water and taste if not too salty. If so, wah a bit more. Make a mixture of red chili paste, fish sauce, garlic and ginger. Using your hands, gently work the paste into the cabbage until all leaves are thoroughly coated. Move to a jar and leave to ferment

Also try making kimchi with Daikon, White Cabbage or Pak Choi. We will continue the experiment by using chicory.