How dry I am: Making Nobu’s Dry/Dried Miso

Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –

* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2011/04/29/morimoto%E2%80%99s-sweetfish-and-rice-red-snapper-and-rice-two/
* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2011/05/27/nobu-engagement-anniversary-dinner-at-home/

As I’ve been looking through Nobu’s new vegetarian cookbook, I noticed a number of recipes calling for dry miso.  I’ve made dry miso before for dishes in earlier writeups but have never really made any notes about my experiences doing it.  I must say that I do prefer the stronger red miso version to the white, though my wife likes the white better.  So looking forward to this week, I thought I’d make Nobu’s Steamed Chilean Sea Bass With Dry Miso from Nobu Miami: The Party Cookbook.  But of course, in order to do this, I needed to make dry miso. Nobu’s process for making dry miso can be found online here: http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/nobu-matsuhisa-recipes/story?id=10021844&page=3#.T1pQ8R2YOMI

So I went over to HMart, Burlington to get the red “aka” miso.

Red (aka) miso for making Nobu's Dried Miso

Parchmnet paper lined baking sheet

After getting the baking sheet lined, I measured out the aka miso. In order to do the next step (getting the miso onto the baking sheet into a thin even layer), one of the things I’ve learned is that the miso needs to be at room temperature otherwise it would be really hard to get the miso to spread thinly and evenly.

Aka miso measured out

Getting the aka miso onto the baking sheet for drying

Spreading the aka miso with the palette knife

Aka miso all spread out (as thin as I could get it)

While I was busy spreading the miso onto the baking sheet, I had preheat my oven to 230 degrees F.  Over the years, I’ve learned that ovens are a tempermental lot and sometimes it’s hard to maintain an even temperature in them.  Thanks heavens one of the things I’ve had over the years is a baking stone to deal with that issue.

Miso into a preheated oven (on top of baking stone)

So, once the sheet of miso went into the oven, I set the timer for it to dry around 2 hours.

Drying the miso at 230 degrees F for 2 hours

As mentioned in the recipe, the process takes between 1 to 2 hours; so I popped open the oven around 1h 30 mins to check on the miso was.

Pulling out the dried miso with 30 minutes still to go

Sure enough, it was the right color and I decided to pull the miso from the oven to make sure it did not overly darken as per the recipe’s instruction.

That's about the right color....

At this point, I got out my mini food processor to break up the dry miso into nice small pieces like I’d seen on some of the dishes at Matsuhisa, LA during my omakase meals.

Dried miso headed for the mini food processor

You can see how Nobu himself makes the dried miso (less the baking part of the process) –

(see:  time indices: 2:06-2:27)

So I broke/tore apart/crumbled the sheet of miso and placed them into my food processor and gave them a quick whirl on high for a 1 to 2 minutes.  I must note that when I pulled the miso out of the oven and started to break them apart for further work in the food processor, the miso did have a slightly damp feel – almost like very thin taffy. The result coming out of the food processor did look like the crumbly substance I was expecting to see (much like what I saw at the restaurant).

Dried miso evenly crumbled by the food processor

Just to make sure the dry miso had the right texture (a little bit of a crunch), I popped the crumbled dry miso back into the 230 degree oven for about 15 more minutes and then poured result into a glass jar and off to the refridgerator it went.

Dry/Dried Red Miso

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