Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Going Bake to Asia

Pak Choy "Shanghai" & Funghi "Shiitake" Arrosto al Miso
Miso-Broiled Shanghai Pak Choy & Shiitake Mushrooms

It's still cold, it's still dreary and it's pretty hard to stay in a good mood after a long, hard day at work! After a busy day with no lunch break, but with a lot of stress, all I want is something comforting and filling and easy to make... Just like everybody else does!

So, what do I do in situations like these? I take a look what's in the fridge, ignore the reason I may have once had to buy whatever I discover there... And I improvise!


Obviously, I was planning on making something Asian with Shanghai pak choy and shiitake mushrooms... I just didn't really know what!

But one thing is always for sure- and that is that no matter how tired or cranky I may be, I always want to do something different!

So what I didn't want to do this evening was to stir-fry or steam my veggies... I decided to pop them into the oven instead!

With a little portion of rice on the side, all I needed was 2 pak choy, 5-6 shiitake mushrooms, a little ginger, a good tablespoon of miso paste, 1 spring onion and some fresh cilantro. Along with a little sesame oil and a squirt of everybody's favorite sriracha sauce, I had all of the umami and rich flavor that I needed, to give me that comforting feeling I needed too... And it worked like a dream!

That rich color should suggest some rich flavor to you good people out there, good, deep, umami richness that only miso can give. With a little sesame oil for a finishing touch, it is all you need to bring out the best flavor of any vegetable... Or anything savory at all come to think of it!

Nothing could be easier than this!

I turned on the oven to get it warm and ready and then began preparing my mushrooms and greens by dissolving the miso paste in a little water, along with some diced ginger and plenty of sesame oil and bringing it up to the boil.

I needed to do this to get the miso dissolved and also to get the flavor of the ginger infused... Ready to briefly coat the pak choy, which I cut in half, for 2-3 minutes from each side.

Once they were coated, I laid them into a baking dish and continued with the mushrooms.


I did the same thing with the mushrooms and stirred them in the miso until it was all soaked up, then added them to the pak choy, ready for baking.


I added most of the spring onion, leaving the thicker end intact and slicing it in half, but chopped most of the onion greens and added them to the mushrooms.

I added a last, light drizzle of sesame oil and popped them into the oven to bake for 10-15 minutes from each side at 200° C until they were golden and delicious.


In the meantime, the rice can boil away of course... But by the time it is done, your oven baked vegetables will be lovely and brown, aromatic and delicious!


With all of the natural flavor of the mushrooms trapped inside and the addition of the ginger and miso, the already flavorful shiitakes become richer and more wonderful still! With a scattering of fresh cilantro and some hot sauce, they are maybe simple... But simply delicious at the same time!


Let me just say that these wonderful and simple ingredients lifted my mood incredibly... This is healthy and happy, good-time food!