Thursday, November 3, 2011

Miso risotto

Hi there! How was your Halloween party? Did you have heavily sugared celebrations? For us here, we don`t celebrate it. It just happens that there is no Halloween tradition where I grew up and live now, and to top it up, I suck at horrory stuffs. But I really enjoyed finding Halloween-themed cookies and candies out there, though!

Anyway, from my kitchen, I wasn`t sure if I should share my oddly named dish with you and you`re about to know why. When it comes to step-by-step pictures, I know people get tempted to quickly scroll down the mouse to see the final result. And if you do, I`m afraid to say that given my lacks of effort and talent in food styling (meet me, Ms. Excuses), the appearance of dish might kill your appetite. But I hope you won`t leave from there, because I think you need to know what`s exactly in it and also, I want you to try it.
It all started on one lazy Saturday noon when I found our rice cooker`s lid widely opened for God knows how long. Well, it actually only took me seconds to figure out how long it was and who did it because my husband, who everyday has his breakfast around 7AM after coming home from his newspaper delivering routine (yes, I`m shamelessly still asleep), was the last one who opened the rice cooker and of course, forgot to close it. With the heating in the open air for hours, the rice was almost all browned and dried when I saw it. I almost cried too!! 
It just so happened that I was planning on cooking fried rice, for our lunch that day, but with this dehydrated rice, I knew it wasn`t a good choice. That`s where I came up with the risotto idea. I just stick on to my thought that risotto has a texture somewhere between porridge and regular cooked rice. To be honest, although I occasionally enjoy risotto at Italian eateries, this was my first time making one, which I`m sure not in a proper or traditional way too.

For a starter, I used cooked rice instead of uncooked ones. And as you might guess from the title, I used: miso, Japanese fermented soy paste.

Start with preparing the miso seasoning.  This is just a rough measurement. For 2 plates of rice, I used 2 heaping tbs of miso paste and diluted it in 3/4 cup of water. I also added soy sauce and pepper to the sauce for more flavors. No salt here since miso and soy sauce made me happy already.

Slice spring onion and cook it on medium heat until it smells good and gets wilted

Toss in your favorite mushroom. I used eringi here. I know, I use it awfully a lot in my kitchen.

Now here comes the fish. If you can find this kind of fish at your place, by all means use it because the tiny fishes go wonderfully with miso. They are called shirasu in Japanese. In English, some people call it baby sardines and others call it baby anchovies. I actually have a post using shirasu for fried rice here. Anyway, toss in the shirasu or whatever you feel like having with your risotto.

Then, chopped tomato. Since I made miso soup with tomato, I keep using the combo as I love how the tomato gives a light touch of sweet tanginess to the salty miso.

After giving some good stir, dump in the rice and stir again. Oh...poor rice....

Get the miso sauce you prepared earlier and pour it in to the rice. This looks like a big mess that is far from appetizing, but please, bear with me.
Stir it well and if you think the rice still hasn`t reached the consistency of risotto, add more water. I did add an extra cup of water since the rice seemed too dry to me. By the way, although I haven`t tried it, I think you can try adding cream or milk instead of water to make the risotto creamier, like a real risotto. I just wanted something lighter when I made this, so I went with water.

When your risotto seems done, adjust the seasoning and stir in sliced green paprika to give the crunchy edge to the whole mushiness. it is, our miso risotto. My risotto wasn`t watery enough compared to risotto I`ve had before, but I didn`t think of this at all once I spooned it in my mouth. Uuummppphhh.....yum! That`s all I can say. And if you love miso soup served with rice, there is a pretty good chance you`ll enjoy this one too.
By the way, can I call it "misotto" now?

Makes about 2 plates

1 spring onion
100 g mushrooms
100 g shirasu
1 medium-sized tomato
5 small green paprika
2 plates cooked/steamed rice
2 tbs miso
3/4 cup water to dissolve the miso*
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 cup water to soften the rice during cooking*
Salt (only if necessary)
*Substitute water for heavy cream or milk to get a creamy consistency

1. Prepare the miso sauce by dissolving 2 tbs miso paste with 3/4 cup of water
2. Add soy sauce and a pinch of pepper to the miso sauce and set aside.
3. Cook sliced spring onions with a bit of oil in a pan over medium heat until fragrant and soft.
4. Toss in sliced mushroom, shirasu, and chopped tomato to the pan and stir well.
5. Throw in cooked rice and stir until the rice is evenly coated.
6. Pour in the miso sauce, stir, and adjust the consistency by adding more water to thin out. 
7. Adjust the seasoning and throw in sliced green paprika.
8. Ready to serve.


  1. Oishisooo!!! I would love this. I love lots of chirimenjako here. Good calcium source for kids!

  2. I know my family would love this and I think the name you gave your rice is catchy. This is my first visit to your blog, so I took some time to browse through your earlier posts. I'm so glad I did that. You've created a great spot for your readers to visit and I really enjoyed the time I spent here. I'll be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  3. Beautiful flavors and photos...I love your blog, which inspired my latest post:


  4. Such a creative dish! Risotto packed with amazing Asian ingredients and flavors - just love it.

  5. When I saw the title I thought "why I have never thought about it?". Using miso in a risotto is a wonderful idea and it does look very appetising. Actually the rice accident has happened to me several times and I'm ashamed to say I have simply thrown the rice away :-(
    Thank you for an extremely creative way to save the dried rice.
    I would love to taste the tiny fish. If I ever find it I will cook it and try to scare some of my guests ;-)
    Do you find it fresh, frozen or dried?

  6. Nami: Hi Nami! I thought chirimenjako is for shirasu coated with sweet glaze?

    Mary: Thank you for visiting and for the kind words, Mary! You have such a lovely site and I`m going there now :)

    Jenn: I`m so flattered! Thank you, Jenn!

    Hyosun: Honestly, this dish came out of a happy accident rather than a creativity :D

  7. Sissi: Oh, you should know that the the minute I saw that rice, I was this close to throwing it away :D Luckily, I remembered how easy rice to be rehydrated. Anyway, I`m glad you find this trick useful.
    Shirasu is sold both as fresh (sometimes it is used as sushi topping) and dried ones. The shirasu I usually buy is called shirasu hoshi (白す干し), which is semi-dried one and thus still rather moist. If you can`t find this fish, just use other fish (tuna comes to mind) or even meat as miso goes well with anything. And I`m 100% sure you knew about this already :)
    Enjoy scaring out your guests! :DD

  8. Thank you for the detailed answer. I will see if I can get it frozen or dried here. Tiny fish with big eyes will scare many people ;-)

  9. Arudhi, when I first saw the title I thought what a great idea this funny how many of us some of our best dishes are made from what could of been a mistake! I don't think you would need cream or milk here it sounds good as is is.

    When I was in New Zealand I had the little white fish...they call it white bait and it is a treasure to eat there!

  10. I really like the idea of this risotto!

  11. What a cool recipe! I love Italian-Japanese fusion dishes, I am sure I'd love this too!

  12. Hi Arudhi, Your Miso risotto recipe has been selected by Knapkins to be featured in a Recipe Guessing Game. Please share the following link with your friends and fans. Congrats again!! :) To play, go here:

  13. This is a very interesting dish, and I bet it tastes great!:)

  14. Lyndsey: You`re right! Had he not forgotten to close the lid that day, I probably wouldn`t even imagine about this risotto :D Ah, so people call it white bait, now I know. Thanks!

    Anh, CG and Christie: Thanks! Hope you give it a try someday. Miso and tomato really work well together.

    Christine: Thanks for featuring my dish in the game! I`m flattered!