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Soups + Stews

East Series, Food, Pescetarian, Soups + Stews

Easy 15-Minute Miso Soup

The belly-warming broth, the nourishing wakame, the silky soft bits of tofu… miso soup is something I’ve never been able to pass up when dining in a Japanese restaurant. (Especially after eating my weight in sushi.) For dessert, I would resist the green tea ice cream and happily sip at a some soothing miso soup instead.

Of course, in true Dana fashion, my adoration for this soup eventually developed some serious curiosity. After my meal, I’d whirl my spoon around in the mesmerizing cloudy broth to disrupt the suspended miso and wonder if this good stuff was something I could easily whip up in my own kitchen.

Fabulous news, friends: it is *so* easy.

(No really, it’s pretty effortless.)

With a few easy-to-acquire ingredients and 15 measly minutes, you can be delving into your very own bowl of restaurant-quality miso soup in the comfort of your own home.

You don’t even have to put pants on for this.

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East Series, Food, Main Dishes, Pescetarian, Soups + Stews

Ochazuke

THIS RECIPE IS SPONSORED BY ARBOR TEAS | OPINIONS ARE MY OWN

Much like the Okonomiyaki I made back in December, I’d never tried Ochazuke until I whipped it up for this series. If this series has taught me anything, it’s that if you find yourself intrigued by a dish you’ve never had before, you can still attempt it at home and totally nail it. So okay, you lack the satisfaction of a proper comparison, but when you dig in and take that first bite you will definitely know whether you’ve done the dish justice or not. Just follow a solid recipe from a trustworthy source! *ahem*…

Ochazuke (ocha meaning tea and zuke meaning submerged) is like nothing I’ve ever had before, and I mean that in the best way. It’s a fuss-free lazy day fave amongst the Japanese (and now me) that is typically served in an overly large bowl, because let’s face it: the bigger with some foods, the better. This is why bowl meals are trending, folks. But a large mug, cereal bowl or soup bowl will work just fine. The idea is to be able to curl up and get comfy with this bad boy, so if you have a vessel that allows you to do that, all is right in the world of Ochazuke.

Common toppings include savory ingredients like salted salmon, shredded nori, wasabi, pickled vegetables, mitsuba, toasted sesame seeds and broken Japanese rice crackers for a salty crunch; it’s all about preference.

Two major things drew my attention to this recipe while researching dishes:

  1. Comfort food. Everything I’d read about this dish suggested that it was total comfort food and, seeing that it’s February and winter is still daunting us, that’s what we’re after. Best of all, it’s a cinch to make — so if you’ve had a long day or simply want to bask in some weekend laziness, Ochazuke is where it’s at.
  2. Tea as a broth. I would have never thought to use straight up green tea, or any tea, as a broth for a savory dish — but here we are. Part of me feared the green tea would drown the dish in a sea of muted flavors, but as long as you use a quality tea like Arbor Tea’s Organic Genmaicha (pronounced GEN-my-cha), you’ll end up with an earthy flavor that is cozy and soul-soothing.

There *is* another variation of Ochazuke that replaces green tea with dashi stock, but between the Spicy Shoyu Ramen and the Okonomiyaki in this series, we’ve seen dashi aplenty. I wanted to honor the simplicity of this dish and, even more so, give this whole green tea as a broth thing a whirl.

I’m thrilled to report that it. was. ah-mazing.

Arbor Teas

Since green tea is a prominent ingredient in this recipe, I wanted a high-quality blend that would provide a natural and earthy flavor. Nothing overly potent, but certainly not something that would leave the dish watered down. Arbor Teas selection of tea in general is impressive, and their greens are absolutely perfect for Ochazuke. Needless to say, when Arbor Teas and I decided to partner up for this post, I was elated; I get to shed light on an ingredient that is not only tasty, but sustainable and fair-trade. High five! It’s also worth mentioning that Arbor Teas’ packaging is backyard compostable. So, you know, if you respect the earth you walk on, double high five.

When it comes to selecting a type of green tea, Ochazuke gives the warmest welcome to Houjicha, Genmaicha and Sencha. After spending a rainy afternoon blissfully sipping these teas to test them out (blog life is haaaaaard), I decided that Genmaicha was the one.

Ochazuke | Killing ThymeSome may think that green tea is green tea no matter how you blend it or brew it — but any tea snob who has consumed enough quality teas (Quali-teas? #Qualiteas — can we get that trending?) will tell you otherwise. Even I myself, a devoted coffee drinker, could notice subtle differences between the three blends. That, my friends, is good tea.

So, why Genmaicha? Arbor Teas’ blend is made up of organic green tea and organic toasted brown rice giving it a toasty flavor that is light-bodied and carries minimal bitterness; broth-y perfection, y’all!

And will you just look at those swoon-worthy tea leaves and toasted rice pellets?

Ochazuke | Killing Thyme

Though the concept of this dish may seem far-off from the bowl of feelgood soup that you’re used to, the similarities are undeniable. The heartiness from the rice and salmon are reminiscent of your standard chicken and rice soup; the hot tea, which you can add a tablespoon of soy sauce to for extra flavor, is as belly-warming as any other soup broth out there. And, if you dig salty crackers in your soup, we’ve got that covered with Japanese rice crackers.

This dish is a total win, and though you won’t find it on many restaurant menus outside of Japan, you can easily find the ingredients at your local Asian market to make it in the comfort of your own kitchen.

(And you totally should.)

To see more of what Arbor Teas has to offer, you can check out their Website. Don’t forget to like them on Facebook and Instagram as well!

THIS RECIPE IS PART OF MY EAST SERIES. 

In this series, I’ll be covering dishes from Japan, China and Korea to cover East Asia, followed by dishes from Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia to cover Southeast Asia.

Making this recipe? Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram: @Killing__Thyme /#killingthyme. For more delish eats, follow me on INSTAGRAM + PINTEREST.
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Ochazuke

Ochazuke is a comforting Japanese dish that includes rice, a hot broth of green tea and various savory toppings.
Cuisine Japanese
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 1
Author Killing Thyme

Ingredients

  • 1 3 oz fillet of sustainable salmon salted
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1-2 TBSP broken/roughly chopped Japanese rice crackers
  • 1 tsp shredded or thinly sliced nori dried/roasted seaweed
  • 1 tsp furikake Japanese rice seasoning
  • 2 TBSP strands of mitsuba trefoil, chopped; or 1 thinly sliced scallion
  • Wasabi optional, for taste
  • 1 cup of Arbor Teas Genmaicha Sencha or Hojicha green tea, prepared as per instructions on package
  • 1 TBSP Kikkoman soy sauce optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In the meantime, prepare/cook the rice.
  3. Salt the salmon fillet and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Prepare the tea and set aside.
  5. Once the salmon is done, flake it with a fork to break it down into bite-sized pieces.
  6. Place the rice in a large bowl and top with the salmon and your selection of savory ingredients.
  7. Add soy sauce to broth if desired.
FOR MORE DELISH EATS, FIND ME ON INSTAGRAM AND PINTEREST.
HAVE YOU MADE THIS RECIPE? SNAP A PIC AND TAG ME ON INSTA! @KILLING__THYME /#KILLINGTHYME
Ochazuke | Killing Thyme — a simple and belly-warming Japanese dish made by pouring green tea over cooked rice, salmon, and rice puffs.
Food, Main Dishes, Soups + Stews, Vegetarian

Vegetarian Italian Wedding Soup

Vegetarian Italian Wedding Soup | Killing Thyme
Meatballs, or cheatballs in this case, are never easy to photograph. But here we are, with hearty balls of goodness floating around in our tasty broth.

Truth be told, even when I was an omnivore, I hated the idea of meatballs bopping around in my soup. It grossed me out. It wasn’t until Thanksgiving a few years back when I was still dating my husband where I decided to suck it up and dive in. The wine helped, plus I wanted to be polite in front of his parents. Lo and behold, I friggin’ loved it. What had I been thinking before? As my Mom always says — don’t knock it ’til you try it.

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East Series, Food, Main Dishes, Soups + Stews

Miso Ramen

In the first installment of this series, I gave you some serious ramen envy with my Spicy Shoyu Ramen. The response on that post across social media was fab, and I may have enticed a ramen fanatic or two to give it a whirl at home themselves. After all, that’s part of why I’m rolling this series out; to encourage people to learn about other culture’s cuisines by hitting the markets and making things from scratch.

So, why another ramen bowl?

The reason I decided to include two ramen bowls in this series is to show you (shoyu?) that ramen isn’t just one soup in particular; it comes in various styles — shoyu, miso, tonkotsu and shio.

In general, ramen comprises four key elements: the broth, the noodles, the tare (base) and, of course, those crowd-pleasing adornments. However, it’s the tare that sets a ramen’s tone.

The tare is the bold umami-packed essence that pulls the broth together. The most common tare is shoyu, which packs a solid punch with soy sauce and dashi. If you did happen to make my Spicy Shoyu Ramen, then you know the lovely punch I’m talking about.

Miso Ramen

Miso Ramen | Killing Thyme

Shoyu and miso ramen might look similar at a quick glance, but the color and flavor are very different. Miso is a fermented bean paste and creates an opaque and cloudy broth; a shoyu-based broth is dark and clear. Furthermore, a miso broth has a smooth finish while a shoyu broth is sharper on the palate. What they *do* have in common is that they both give us that umami we covet, just in their own distinct ways.

I honestly can’t say I love one more than the other.

Miso Ramen | Killing Thyme

Miso Ramen | Killing Thyme

Miso Ramen | Killing Thyme

 

THIS RECIPE IS PART OF MY EAST SERIES. 

In this series, I’ll be covering dishes from Japan, China and Korea to cover East Asia, followed by dishes from Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia to cover Southeast Asia.

Making this recipe? Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram: @Killing__Thyme /#killingthyme. For more delish eats, follow me on INSTAGRAM + PINTEREST.

 

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Miso Ramen

This mouth-watering Miso Ramen is a cinch to make in the comfort of your own kitchen! This installment part of my East series.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2
Author Killing Thyme

Ingredients

Noodles:

  • ¾ lb fresh ramen noodles or 2 packages of instant ramen

Soup:

  • 2 cloves large garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp of freshly grated ginger
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 1 tbsp . sesame seeds ground up
  • 1 tbsp . sesame oil
  • 1 tsp . Chili Bean Sauce/Paste La Doubanjiang
  • 3 tbsp . miso paste
  • 1 tbsp . organic honey
  • 1 tbsp . sake
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp . kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp . white pepper

Garnishes: (See notes*)

  • Fried fish cakes
  • kamaboko
  • Soft boiled egg
  • Sliced scallions
  • Ribboned nori
  • Radishes thinly sliced
  • Sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Heat sesame oil in a medium stockpot over moderate heat.
  2. Add the minced garlic, ginger and shallot. Sautee until fragrant — approx. 2 minutes — stirring frequently.
  3. Add the spicy bean paste, the miso paste, sesame seeds and honey; stir to combine.
  4. Add the sake, vegetable stock, salt and pepper.
  5. Bring to a simmer, and keep the broth to a low simmer while you prep your garnishes. Prep your garnishes before cooking your noodles as the noodles don't take long at all.
  6. Once your garnishes are ready, prepare your ramen noodles as per the packages instructions, but lessen the suggested time by about 30 seconds since your noodles will continue to cook once the hot broth is ladled over them.
  7. Once your noodles are ready, drain them and place them into bowls.
  8. Ladle broth over them, garnish, and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Garnishes can vary, so get creative! You can check out my Spicy Shoyu Ramen for more ideas. *Adapted from http://www.justonecookbook.com/homemade-chashu-miso-ramen/

Resources

  • JustOneCookbook.com — It’s safe to say that 90 per cent of what I’ve learned in Japanese cooking has come from Nami and her amazing blog. Nami, if you read this, thank you.
Miso Ramen | Killing Thyme
Food, How-To, Soups + Stews, Vegetarian

Homemade Vegetable Broth

Homemade Vegetable Broth
Productivity has been at an all-time low in this house for the past week. Thanks to this nasty and stubborn cold, my work assignments have taken me triple the amount of time they normally take due to lack of focus + obligatory cat naps. On the plus side, I feel pretty human today — which is why I can finally bring you this post.

I brewed this veg broth just in time. My husband (who is also sick) and I have been living off of soup and hot toddies for the past week.

Homemade Vegetable Broth
Despite the fact that I’m a self-proclaimed engineer on the homemade soup train, it wasn’t until recently that I made my own broth from scratch. (Whut.) I know

I’ve often felt a wee bit of guilt for not making my own broths or stocks. Growing up, this was something that my Mum did on the regular. Once the chilly weather rolled around, Mum would be boiling chicken carcasses on the stove every few days in order to nourish the fam with her homemade soup. The second my father or I even slightly groaned about feeling under the weather, Mum would have bones boiling over the stove.

Finally, last month, I forced myself into the habit of storing vegetable ends and scraps into a freezer bag and tossing them in the freezer since haste makes waste and, collecting veg scraps in a mostly plant-based home is pretty easy. I *hate* wasting food, so this entire process is a win/win for me. You can definitely use whole vegetables in a veg stock, though.

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