Japanese cuisine has reached the top echelon in haute cuisine. Elegant, mild and delicious, it is amongst the fastest-growing cuisines in India. However, the food is limited to sushi, reimagined and ruined with loads of mayo, and some of te standard satay and noodle dishes. The diversity and elegance of this cuisine have not yet been developed in India.
This is one of those simple yet elegant dishes that serves as an appetizer. The dish is composed of three flavours, the miso broth, light and the scent of the sea from seaweed. The soft noodles add substance. And finally, the highly flavoured soy-brushed king oyster mushrooms that add both texture and the flavour of the earth. Be careful not to broil or roast the mushrooms to a soft mush, they should be lightly cooked on the outside and raw in the middle with a lovely bite. The flavours come together well in this dish and the beautiful king oyster mushrooms shine on the plate.
Hugo Arnold is a cookbook author, food consultant and restauranteur. He is known for the Wagamama set of cookbooks from the famed chain of restaurants. This cookbook focuses on bringing elegant Japanese food home with farm-to-table ingredients and simple techniques. The recipes span across all the categories and are not as noodle-focused as the first Wagamama cookbook, but introduce lots of vegetarian and vegan dishes. This Japanese cookbook is perfect for those elegant dinners with dishes that pop.
For more recipes from this cookbook, click here.
9 oz. soba noodles
For the mushrooms:
2 tablespoons oil
1 red chilli, finely sliced
2 tablespoons ginger paste
6-8 oyster mushrooms, halved longitudinally
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
Bok choi, sliced, to garnish
Enoki mushrooms, to garnish
Scallions, sliced, to garnish
Cilantro, to garnish
For the miso soup:
1 tablespoon dried wakame or a 1-inch piece of kombu
3 tablespoon miso paste, a light colour preferred
1 teaspoon hongdashi, avoid for vegetarian version
6 cups water
To make the noodles: Heat a pot of water and cook the noodles as per the directions on the package. make sure the noodles are well-cooked and soft. Once cooked drain in a colander and run cold water through the noodles till they are completely cold and all the surface starch has been washed off. If the noodles are not washed properly, they will clump. Set aside till needed.
To make the miso soup: Add the water to a pot and bring to a boil. While the water is heating up, mix the miso paste with 3 tablespoons of warm water to get a smooth slurry. Slowly pour te slurry into the hot water. When the water begins to boil, turn off the heat and add the wakame for 2 minutes. Add the komby=u for 3 more minutes. Add the hongdashi and mix in well. Strain the soup through a fine mesh sieve discarding the kombu but adding the wakame bak into the soup. Set aside till needed.
Heat the oven to 375° F.
Mix the oil, chilli ginger, salt and sugar well. Drench the mushrooms in the mix till coated. Layer on a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes till the mushrooms are just cooked but not soggy. It is best to cook the mushrooms right before you serve them.
To serve the dish, heat the soba and add a small clump to a bowl. Top with a ladle of the heated soup. Add a cooked mushroom on top and garnish with bok choi, enoki, scallions and cilantro. Serve immediately.