On this trip to Japan, in Matsumoto City, we met Hayashi san, the president and master shinshu miso maker at Marusho Jozo. Through our conversations, I found out he is 80 years old. But the man, does not look a day past 65 years old. The complexion of his skin, its tautness and most importantly his agility climbing up the ladder to the miso barrels was impressive. I asked him what was his secret. Miso soup of course! Every morning, his wife would make miso soup for him for breakfast. I am convinced two bowls of miso a day chases the doctor away! It tastes great and yes, it is good for us too! We had the privilege of visiting 3 different miso places in Japan and learnt about their production methods. A miso may be named for its color, region, or the koji starter with which it’s made. To read more about miso, its production and its benefits, please refer to my journal entry on The art of Miso | Why you should eat miso daily?
A couple of months back, the hubs actually got invited to visit the Kuhlbarra fish farm and he was treated to a really splendid meal of barramundi done multiple ways to showcase its versatility. I never knew the barramundi fish is so huge! We were sent some barramundi by the good folks at Kuhlbarra in February and it was an awesome experience. The flesh of the barramundi was really firm and sweet. Great to have it steamed, and sliced thinly for a steamboat party. Clean pure taste and firm flaky texture—that’s what sets Australian barramundi from all other species of barramundi. Kühlbarra imports their fishes directly from Australia and it is bred in our clean and pristine seas. I would definitely feed barramundi to my kids, as it is packed with heart healthy and souper brain nutrients: omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Another interesting fact I found out was Kühlbarra’s Australian barramundi species can rival the incredible healthy benefits of tuna ! Definitely a delightful surprise considering the price per kg of tuna !
Togarashi, the Japanese word for “chiles,” is a group of condiments always including chiles to add flavour, spiciness and aroma. Shichimi togarashi is also called seven spice (shichi is “seven” in Japanese), because seven ingredients are generally used, similar to Chinese Five Spice Powder. Originally sold by herbal medicine shops in the 17th century, but today it is a popular food souvenir at some of Japan’s famous shrine festivals and tourist sites. It works well with fatty foods such as unagi, tempuras, shabu shabu, noodle dishes, and yakitori . The ingredients and proportions used will vary depending on the region, manufacturer, and cook. The ingredients usually include items from the following list: Red pepper flakes (Bansho), White sesame seeds, Black sesame seeds, black hemp seeds or poppy seeds, Sansho (Japanese Pepper), Dark green dried seaweed flakes, Ginger, Rapeseed, Chimpi (dried mikan peel). The red pepper flakes are roasted to bring out its heat and flavour and sesame seeds is said to soften the heat of the pepper. To read more about shichimi togarashi, please refer to my journal entry here.
The cooking process
Visiting the Shiogama Seafood Market in Miyagi, seeing the fresh tuna, and looking through my notes, I knew I wanted to do a miso stew based on fish, not any fish, but a fish that is sustainably farmed locally in our Singapore waters. Over the last few souperinspirations, we have been using only barramundi fish for its clean taste, high omega 3 and its nutrient packed brain food quality. We want everyone to eat well. Combining such a great fish with miso to make a barramundi miso stew, it is THE miracle souper food, great brain booster and keeps us looking young at the same time! Topping it with the great togarashi to add a spicy dimension is gonna be so appetizing!