This dish conjures up a unity of flavours and ingredients from two different parts of the world, however its flavour profile is familiar to both cultures. Japanese miso meets Italian rice. My apologies in advance if I have offended either of these countries – this dish just seems to make sense.
It was spurred on by my flat mate, an enthusiastic cook who loves to try new dishes. “Jen, I have just bought a shitload of miso paste – can you write a few recipes on how to use miso that isn’t exactly Japanese???” Krissy. This one is for you.
So, the two important ingredients from two different cultures are miso and Italian rice. Miso encapsulates the very essence of Japanese cooking with an undeniable umami taste.
Umami: “it is usually so faint and overshadowed by other stronger tastes that it is often difficult to recognize it unless attention is specifically directed towards it” Dr. Kikunae Ikeda
Dr Ikeda discovered the amino acid glutamate through many experiments on Konbu, isolating certain compounds by means of evaporation. Umami is found naturally in food such as mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, fermented and cured food products – just to name a few. It is a taste that has existed for many years and although its’ discovery was in the early 1900’s, it took a little over a century to be officially recognized as the fifth taste, adding to sweet, sour, spicy and bitter.
Now rice – in particular rice for making risotto, you will find more about it here.
This recipe can be made in advanced and cooked until the grains are al dente. When it is time to serve guests, add a little water and mix through to heat up the risotto.
The garnish is not essential but dresses up the dish and makes it look that little bit more special.