This darker style red miso soup has an intensity of flavour very different from those made with the more familiar white miso. Piled on top was seafood steamed in sake and various aromatics. The combination was truly a symphony of flavours.
The Red Miso soup
I was first introduced to this style of miso soup at the Ginza location of the restaurant Tunahachi. The tempura was indeed an order of magnitude better than what I had experienced before, as one would expect given its reputation and price. The red miso soup that they served with the tempura was, though, a life-changing experience. The deep red broth was unlike anything I had experienced before. As a result, I set out on a mission to find out how they did that.
A subsequent visit to a miso shop on a Culinary Backstreets tour helped answer some of my questions. The dark red miso styles were a revelation. And the black miso was more reminiscent of Vegemite, a comparison made by my daughter, a fan of Vegemite. I managed to source some of these darker miso styles. Then I set about recreating the taste that caused that “wow” moment at the tempura restaurant.
A related, though very different recipe, is the Salmon miso soup with carrot and daikon waffles. That used shiro, or white miso, so was sweeter.
The Sake Steamed Seafood
While a specific Tokyo experience inspired the red miso soup, the sake steamed seafood topping the soup was inspired by the incredible taste sensations I experienced throughout Japan.
The red miso soup was robust in the best of ways. Using sake and these aromatics to steam the seafood enhanced their flavours so that they were a worthy complement to this amazing red miso broth. You can, of course, vary the selection of seafood based on what you have available.
Sake steamed seafood in red miso soup
Sake steamed seafood
- 2 cups sake
- 1 thumb fresh ginger, cut into “coins”
- 2 star anise pods
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 Tbsp butter
- Peel of a lime or orange
- 800 g fish fillets, skin on something firm… sea bass, snapper, or even salmon
- 5 Scallops if large, or 10 small ones
- 150 g Octopus pre-cooked sushi variety
- 5 Large Prawns in shell
- Bring the dashi to a simmer, but do not allow to boil. Just a few small bubbles is enough. Remove from the heat.
- Add the miso into a fine sieve.
- Immerse into the warm dashi, and using the back of a spoon, push the miso through the sieve into the dashi broth. Stir well.
- Add the sake, ginger, anise, garlic, lime peel, and butter to the base of a steamer.
- In the top of the steamer, add the fish fillets, scallops, octopus, and prawns.
- Apply the heat, and once the liquid is boiling, cover to start the steaming.
- Steam for 5-6 minutes or until the prawns and fish fillets are just cooked through.
- Soak the wakame in some warm water for a few minutes until soft. Drain.
- Remove the skins from the fish fillets.
- Remove the heads and shells from the prawns, leaving the tails attached.
- Slice up the octopus into 5 to 10 pieces.
- Put a mound of flaked fish, scallops, a prawn, and octopus in the middle of a shallow bowl.
- Pour enough hot miso soup into the bowl so the top of the seafood mound is still visible.
- Sprinkle some wakame onto the soup.
- Top the mound with a sprig or two of sea grapes.
- Drizzle 1/2 tsp truffle infused oil over the miso soup