Michiba-Style Ozoni With Noshi Meringue Mochi

Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –

* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2014/05/03/reproducing-michibas-miso-cheese-stew-pt-ii

During the broadcast of the 2012 New Year’s Iron Chef battle between the latest Japanese Iron Chef (Jun Kurogi) and  OG Japanese Iron Chef Rokusaburo Michiba, the theme ingredient was buri/yellowtail.  During the battle, Iron Chef Michiba presented a New Year’s ‘Ozoni’ soup that contained a mochi that was made with meringue.  That ingredient combination got my attention because it meant that the mochi wouldn’t be so chewy and easier to eat.  But how would I approach reproducing Iron Chef Michiba’s mochi? https://sakurajunction.com/2016/02/19/shiratama advised combining –

100g shiratamako
90 ml water

During my research, I discovered that egg whites were about 90% water. The website:

https://cookpad.com/us/recipes/145157-microwaved-uguisu-mochi

suggested that mochi could be made with:

100 grams Shiratamako
170 ml Water
150 grams Caster sugar
5 grams Egg white
375 grams Koshi-an
1 Green (uguisu) kinako

in order to “…make the dough easier to bite into. ”

Trying to get these measurements into usable form lead me to consider:

1 egg white==1oz==2T
90ml water==3 oz
100g shiratamako==3.5 oz==3/4c

From my previous work with shiratamako led me to conclude that I might be combining:

3.5 oz shiratamako (12T)
6T egg whites whipped into a sugarless meringue

As it would turn out, I discovered a video of Iron Chef Michiba and his staff at his home restaurant (Ginza Rokusan-tei) actually making that mochi for use in a miso soup: [ https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=O5qXCp5b2DI ] ( see time indices: 0:18 -0:19 where they are whipping up the egg whites in a small bowl into a meringue, 0:33-0:54 where they pouring a water/shiratamako mix through a fine mesh strainer and the cooking it on the stove top and then turning it out into a rectangular restaurant kitchen pan). The fact the mochi was turned out into a kitchen pan clearly indicated they were using the noshi form.  It clearly wasn’t the kagami, hishi, maru format; “noshi” in this context, as I understand “延し” meant to extend/spread/stretch. At time index 0:58-1:10 you can see Iron Chef Michiba pinching off about a 2″ square piece of mochi from the kitchen pan, placing it into a bowl and then pouring in the soup.

The crucial observation was that Iron Chef Michiba’s staff mixed cold water with shiratamako (powdered form) and then passed through a fine mesh strainer before being cooked in a pot. The question before me now was: what was the minimum amount of water required for the water/shiratamako combination to pass through the fine mesh strainer?

Finally [ http://www.marikodama.com/MK/recipes/Mochi.pdf ] suggested the cook time might be 15 minutes (in the steamer context).

I’m pretty sure the amount of egg whites to be whipped into a meringue was correct based on what I saw in the

6 T shiratamako into the coffee/spice grinder (would need to do 1 more batch)

video.  As for the shiratamako, I suspected I would need to ground its irregular shapes in my processor and perhaps

shiratamako ‘flour’

 

yup, 3/4 c

add at least 12T of water (3/4 c?) to create a slurry that could pass through the fine mesh strainer (thank you Iron Chef Chen for your observation on making starch slurry).   One website ( http://hortuscuisine.com/blog/2013/10/13/baking-basics-understanding-flour-part-1/ ) suggested that shiratamako might be considered a ‘weak flour’ and would absorb at least 50% of its own weight of water (in this case it would be at least 1/4 c water). This amount suggested a weak batter like crepes.  But clearly the Michiba video showed the mix pouring through a fine mesh strainer. Another website ( https://artisanbreadinfive.com/2008/02/10/qa-flour-and-water/ ) suggested potentially 1/4c more water (based on 1c of wheat flour).  This suggested at least 3 T more on 3/4 c of powdered shiratamako (3/4 * 1/4 = 3/16 = 1/8 c + 1/16 c= 2 T +1 T = 3 T ). So at this point, I was looking at virtually 1 c  of water (in addition to the meringue).  As a result, I was now looking at mixing:

3/4 c powdered shiratamako
1 c water
6T egg whites whipped into a sugarless meringue

So I began by making the slurry with the powdered shiratamako and sure it enough it was a liquid just as in the video with Iron Chef Michiba’s team.

shiratamako slurry

I was surprised how well it went through the fine mesh filter, which means, at least I seemed to be on the right track.

wow – it went through the strainer exactly like Iron Chef Michiba’s video!

Before I tried to make the dough in the pot, I prepared the sugarless meringue by whipping up the egg whites.

6 T pasteurized liquid egg whites to be whipped

I remember whipping up these egg whites once before when I was making Nobu’s chocolate sata-andagi by hand.

meringue ready after 5 minutes of hand whipping

But I’d sort of forgotten how much physical exertion went into doing that.   Once I finished making the meringue and set it aside, I turned to actually making the mochi on the stove top.    The thing I noticed about cooking the slurry was that it as very much like making Gordon Ramsay’s scrambled eggs – had to constantly stir the formed curds of mochi dough.    Halfway into cooking the slurry into dough, I folded in the meringue and carefully blended it into the whole mix whilst cooking the mixture.

Adding the meringue to be folded into soft formed rice dough

 

So after trying to make the dough by cooking it in the pot for 15 minutes (on low medium), I turned out the mixture

Michiba-Style Noshi Meringue Mochi

and ‘stretched’ it into my “eighth sheet pan”. Once it ‘set’, I would try to cut rounds out of it to put in a miso soup. That soup would have a nice round of cooked daikon, a cut piece of the noshi mochi, a nice shrimp and a garnish.

Once I finished making this mochi, I planned on making the soup using the ingredient list from:

https://www.kikkoman.com/en/cookbook/search/recipe/00001645/index.html

with the following change:

2 c dashi
1 1/2 T miso
1 1/8oz kasu==2T+1 1/4t
3/8 c mascarpone(?)

left to right: shiro miso, sake kasu, mascarpone

in order to attempt a replication of Iron Chef Michiba’s ozoni soup from the program broadcast.  I selected the amount of mascarpone because of my prior experience with making Iron Chef Michiba’s Miso Cheese Stew.

In the video at [ https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qQNz0QVHWWs ], Iron Chef Michiba’s head chef at Kaishoku Michiba clearly lists the ingredient in the ozoni as (starting at time index 0:40):

sake kasu
shiratama mochi
gobo (burdock root)
ebi (shirmp, blanch cooked)
yuzu (peel)
shiro miso
sato imo
nin-jin (carrot greens)
cream cheese (mascarpone as stated in the tv battle)

So I decided to make a variant without the gobo, and sato imo.

For the simmered daikon (https://www.nishinorestaurant.com/autumn_omakase.pdf, p.89)

  • cook 1″ thick rounds of peeled daikon in simmering water for 15m
  • cook the 1″ thick rounds of daikon in 2 cups of dashi with 1/4 t of salt for 30m and let it cool to room temperature

daikon, soaking in salted dashi (a la Nishino)

Blanching the carrot greens garnish

For the Michiba Miso Sake Kasu Mascarpone soup, I began combining the

  • 2 c dashi
  • 1 1/2 T miso
  • 1 1/8oz kasu==2T+1 1/4t
  • 3/8 c mascarpone (1/4 c +2 T)

dashi for the soup base

When the dashi was ready, I would add the kasu (and cook to let it dissolve for 15 minutes), then filter in the miso

measuring out the sake kasu/lees

into the dashi to cook and dissolve

miso filtered into the dashi/kasu mix; waiting for the mascarpone to be added

before blending in the mascarpone.

miso kasu mascarpone soup done!

For the sashimi grade hamachi, I need two nice 1/4″ slices cuts, seasoned them with 4:1 salt/pepper and then toss

a little hamachi….

them in flour and quickly fry them(since they were sashimi grade) until the coating was nice and crisp.   While that was going on, I would also have to blanch two nice shrimp in boiling water until they were just done (2 minutes) and then shock them in ice water.  My wife graciously volunteered to take care of cooking the seafood this time around. Then it was just a matter of vegetable peeling a little lemon zest for two bowls and then cleaning and trimming carrot greens stalks.

The assembly of the dish would then begin with: soup, daikon round, mochi, hamachi, shrimp, lemon zest and carrot greens.

MIchiba-Style Ozoni With Noshi Meringue Mochi

Upon tasting the finished dish, it very much was a reminder of the Michiba Miso Cheese Stew. The only issue my wife and I had was that the mochi I made was actually TOO soft.  When I remake this again, I will lower the amount of the egg whites for the meringue by half.  That should make the noshi meringue mochi a little more al dente.   This is definitely a course I would like to have for the holiday tasting menu meal.

So the final ingredient measurements for the noshi meringue mochi would be:

3/4 c powdered shiratamako
1 c water
3T egg whites whipped into a sugarless meringue

ALLEZ CUISINE!

Resources

Sake Kasu (aka Sake Lees) – Ebisuya, Medford, MA
Mascarpone – Whole Foods

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