Miso, Ginger and Garlic Dressing

 

I started making this when running Ayabe Yoshimizu Guesthouse where there were several vats of rich dark miso in the basement that the owner had locally made. The guests could not get enough of this robust zesty, salty-sweet dressing, which works equally well over a green salad or as for a dip for small crunchy Japanese cucumbers. My son, however, likes to simply pour it over rice

The rich dark hatcho miso works best but it can be made with any kind of miso. The shoyu is optional but seems to add an additional savoury note. The dressing is rather thick so you can thin with water if preferred.

Makes 1 jar

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp hatcho miso
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp soy sauce (optional)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 3cm knob of ginger, finely grated

Method

  • Whisk all ingredients in a jar, thinning with water if necessary.

 

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Kinome Dressing

Kinome are the young soft leaves of the Japanese herb prickly ash. The flavour is a fragrant mix of citrus, pepper and mint and the leaves are used as a garnish or in simmered dishes. I like to use kinome to make a fresh, zesty dressing.

The early shoots are just leafing now, in a month or so they’ll be a little prickly and more defined. The seed pods, sansho no mi, appear soon after and once dried are one of the spices used in shichimi, Japanese seven spice.

 

Kinome Dressing

Ingredients

  • 4 tbs kinome, finely chopped
  • 5 tbs (70ml) olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

Method

  • Mix the oil, lemon and chopped kinome thoroughly, season to taste

Keeps for about a week in the fridge, although loses its lovely vibrant colour after a day

Kinome, Tomato and Tofu Salad

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Ingredients

  • 2 tbs kinome dressing
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 blocks of silken tofu*
  • 1/4 lettuce, washed and ripped in bite size pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • salt and pepper

Method

  • Arrange the lettuce on a serving plate
  • Gently cut the tofu into quarters and place on the lettuce
  • Mix the tomatoes with the dressing and pour over the tofu
  • Garnish with red onion slices and fresh kinome leaves
  • Check and adjust seasoning if needed

*Tofu is best left on a chopping board that is placed at a slight angle on the draining board for 30 minutes or so to expel water, otherwise it will seep into the salad.