Michibia Sansho Miso Sauce

Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –

* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/ron-siegels-sanchosansho-pepper-reduction/
* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/kabayaki-mackerel-don/

Recently, I was catching up on what Iron Chef Michiba was working on at https:// m.facebook.com/MichibaShunsara, when I found this:

https://  m.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.899611443422832.1073741834.187205257996791&type=3 ….

The secret recipe of「山椒味噌」(“Sansho-miso”).

Though it is called the “secret,” in case of Michiba, he does not pass it on as a secret; it simply means that it is somewhat special and very delicious. (^^)
It is made of「山椒粉」(“Sansho powder”) and「八丁味噌」(“Haccho miso”), with a bit of hot spices, broken pieces of beef meat, and so on. This is a magical seasoning to transform steamed vegetables, grilled meat or fish into Michiba’s dish at once. 

I wondered how I could re-create this condiment and on review, I thought it might be something like:

Nobu Miami’s aka den miso + tobanjan + sansho pepper + fried soboro beef

But why did I think it was a sweet miso?  I found this pdf http://www.kaishoku-michiba.jp/info_en/$file/12_2016_shunsaizen.pdf describing Main Dish: tender Japanese beef prepared roast beef style flavoured with sweet sansho miso sauce, garnished with sautéed pea sprouts.  I initially imagined the recipe might look like this:

1 T hatcho den miso
1/2 T tobanjan
1 t sansho pepper (relative to Iron Chef Chen’s use of szechuan peppercorns in Mapo Tofu)
(how much beef soboro? 6oz?)

And this supposition reminded me of Iron Chef Morimoto’s Tofu and Spicy Pork Sauce.  I justified the use of the tobanjan for two reasons.  Iron Chef Battle #38 (Sea Bass), Iron Chefs Michiba and Chen offered a donabe of sea bass with ponzu and tobanjan (Iron Chef: The Official Book, p. 166).  Nobu Matsuhisa blended 2 tablespoons of Chinese salted black bean paste with 1 tablespoon of Chinese chili bean sauce – aka tobanjan (Nobu: The Cookbook, p. 122.123).

The other possible recipe approach I considered was based on the guidance from the Spicy Miso from Nobu West (p.245). and that recipe called for:

6 1/2 T sake
6 1/2 T mirin
6 1/2 T water
5 oz red miso (about 1/3 cup?)
5 oz white miso (about 1/3 cup?)
3/4 c sugar
1/2 t shichimi togarashi
2 T chili oil
1 T toasted sesame oil

Chef Thomas Buckley at Nobu Miami (Nobu Miami: The Party Cookbook, pgs 184,185) provided further guidance with the Aka Den Miso whose microbatch recipe called for:

1/6 c hatcho miso
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c + 1 T sake (5 T)
1/4 c + 1 T mirin (5 T)

Ingredients for Iron Chef Michiba’s Sansho Sweet Hatcho Miso Sauce

Even though there was half the amount of sugar between the two recipes, it seemed to me that the shichimi togarashi

Turns out this is probably the smallest workable amount…

…with these base ingredients

might echo Iron Chef Michiba’s call for “…a bit of hot spices…”.     To make the miso base, I decided that I needed to mix all

Assembling the sweet hatcho miso base

the ingredients in a mixing bowl (and Chef Buckley calls for using a hand blender). I would then need to cook the contents

I managed to mix this without the use of a hand blender

of the mixing bowl a top a saucepan with gently simmering water (36% max heat) for 40 minutes to evaporate the alcohol.

slowly cooking out the alcohol and melding all the base ingredients

Once it was all mixed, I would then blend in the 1/2 t of shichimi togarashi. But how much sansho powder would I need.  After doing a little reading, I discovered that dried sansho berries (that are ground to make powder) were 1/3rd the weight of the original (see http://www.thesoupspoon.com/sansho-togarashi-spicing-up-your-palette/) .  Based on my experience with making Chef Ron Siegel’s Arima Sansho Reduction, I estimated that I would need 1 teaspoon of the sansho powder.This sort of made sense, since the original recipe for Kabayaki Sardine Don ( Nobu Now p. 216, 218) indicated the use of 1 teaspoon of (arima?) sansho. There was one unmentioned missing ingredient.  In the final picture on the Michiba’s sansho miso page clearly showed little dark spheres being pulled out of a jar of that miso.  I can only surmise that that unmentioned ingredient was arima sansho.

Final seasoning steps

Summarily, I now expected to combine

1/6 c hatcho miso (2T + 2t + 1/2t)
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c + 1 T sake (5 T)
1/4 c + 1 T mirin (5 T)
1/2 t shichimi togarashi
1 t sansho powder

Adding in the final seasonings

to make nearly 1 cup of Iron Chef Michiba’s Sansho Sweet Miso Sauce. After I made the sauce, I was startled how well it

Sansho Sweet Hatcho Miso, Michiba-Style

turned out.  How would I try to use this?  I noticed a posting at [ https://myaomori.wordpress.com/2017/10/22/post-21/ ] with pictures of a grilled duck/shrimp/eggplant offering the sansho miso. I thought, “I could make that – pan roast duck breast on baked eggplant with Michiba Sansho Miso!”.  One other observation that I noticed was that there was a Kaishoku Michiba menu listing that mentioned “grilled aubergine rolled with sansho-miso flavoured meat sauce” [ http://www.kaishoku-michiba.jp/info_en/$file/07_2014_okami.pdf ] and that suggested the comment about “broken pieces of beef meat” was a variant of the sansho sweet miso base.

Pan roasted magret duck breast on Michiba-style sansho miso flavored baked eggplant, blanched asparagus, haricots vert,
Michiba-style Sansho Miso

So while I worked on preparing the baked eggplant ‘steak’ (25 minutes at 400 degrees, topped with sansho miso and cooked 7 more minutes) and pan roasted duck, my wife quickly blanched the asparagus and haricots vert.  Down went a strip of the sansho miso, the eggplant and then the duck onto the plate. My wife garnished the dish with the blanched vegetables.  Upon tasting, it was a revelation to her how well Iron Chef Michiba’s sansho miso tied everything together.

I’m looking forward to trying this sansho miso on my future home menus.

Matsuhisa-sama and Chef Buckley,ありがとうございます for the guidance on the Aka Den Miso, I don’t think I would’ve been able to attempt this sauce without your recipe from the Nobu Miami: The Party Cookbook

Matsuhisa-sama and Chef Edwards, ありがとうございます for your guidance on the Spicy Miso, I don’t think would’ve gotten a good handle on the togarashi without your recipe from the Nobu West cookbook

Michiba-sama, ありがとうございます, for telling us about your sansho miso sauce.  If you by chance happen to read this. I would appreciate any updates or corrections.   It’s a wonderful item and something I look forward to using more in the future.

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