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Creamy Bamboo Shoot Soup With Miso

(Creamy Bamboo Shoot Soup With Miso / Image)

Takenoko or bamboo shoot is a quintessential harbinger of spring in Japan. There are many kinds of takenoko recipes, that is to say, takenoko rice, takenoko in stir-fries, and much more.
As a change of pace from all the traditional takenoko dishes, taking up herewith very creamy, subtle soup that was a big hit. The gentle flavor of the takenoko comes through very well, and it’s a great way to use up bits of the shoots that aren’t as good looking, like the heel. And the creaminess is not derived from a flour-based roux (it’s thickened with cooked rice), so this soup is gluten-free.
(Serves 4)

* the white part of 1 leek
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
* 1/3 cup (80ml, or about 3 heaped tablespoons) plain cooked white rice
* 1 small bamboo shoot - about 1 cup cut up plus 4 thin slices for garnish
* 1 cup (240ml) water
* 2 cups (480ml) whole soy milk or cow’s milk
* 2 tablespoons sweet white miso or saikyo miso, or plain white miso with 1 teaspoon sugar
* salt and white pepper
* sansho leaves, chives or parsley for garnish


Slice the leek finely. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan over low-medium heat, add the leek and saute until soft and translucent. (Adding a pinch of salt will help the onion soften faster.)

Cut up the bamboo shoot, leaving 4 slices for garnish. Add the cut up bamboo shoot to the pan and saute briefly. (Remember it’s pre-cooked and already tender.)

Add the water and rice. Turn up the heat until the water is boiling, then lower the heat again to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the water is almost all evaporated and the leek is very tender.

Blitz the contents of the pan in a food processor, mixer or with a stick blender until smooth. If you want it to be very smooth, pass through a sieve.

Wash out the pan, and return the puree to it. Add the milk. Heat up while stirring over medium heat, until it’s bubbling gently. Take out a little of the mixture and put into a small bowl and add the miso. Stir until the miso is melted, then add to the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with a slice of bamboo shoot, and something green (I used chives here).


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