Misadventures with Miso

Misadventures with Miso

Friday, January 20, 2012

Food for Friday: Oysters on the River Bank

helmi 1

I have a different Food for Friday today. I've been wanting to post more about things I cook but since my current apartment is very small and dark it's not easy to do.

helmi 2

But last year I did get a chance to do something amazing. A couple years ago I decided I wanted to learn more about Japanese cooking and not just how to make certain dishes, I discovered Elizabeth Andoh's "Washoku" cook book. It was exactly what I was looking for. So I was more than happy to help her out with testing recipes last year for her new book "Kibo".

So I'm going to post some photos from one of the recipes I tested and write a bit more about her book at the end of this post. This recipe is called Oysters on the River Bank. Above is the secret miso glaze that is a key part of the recipe. If you want to know how to make it, well you will have to get the book. As for the rest of this recipe testing and more about the dish, keep reading!

helmi 3

Since this is like a nabemono there are lots of ingredients. I was happy that the local Mitsuwa market sells cut sizes of produce like this half lovely napa cabbage.

helmi 4

Just a bit of what goes in. There was grilled tofu from House Foods (the same people as Curry House Restaurant), cabbage, daikon, shitake mushrooms, welsh onions and carrots. I tried to be a little decorative with the carrots by cutting them with a knife. I need more practice.

helmi 5

The trick that makes this such a delicious dish is the nabe pot is coated with the secret miso mixture around the sides. As it cooks this melts into the broth and the flavor changes. Definitely wonderful to taste. At the bottom is a pretty big piece of pre-soaked konbu.

helmi 6

The star of the recipe. These were tasty. I think that you can easily substitute other items or just make it vegan and it will be just as good. In fact I will probably do a vegan version myself. The oysters are sort of local from up north in Washington. In a way, this made me think of the oyster farms which are so important to the people of the Tohoku coast. Regional dishes like this are so much a part of Japanese cuisine.

helmi 7

I went the whole way with this. Finally got to use my table top burner and it was great. They sell them in the winter at local Marukai stores if you live by one in the US. I heated up the pot, poured in the broth and we placed in the pot the different ingredients.

helmi 8

Nice and hot and bubbly. This was so wonderful! I hope to be able to make this again some day. Definitely worth the effort and it was so inspiring to be able to help out Ms. Andoh too. It tested my cooking skills and I came away feeling like I accomplished something and learned so much not just about cooking Japanese food but how a cook book is put together.

Elizabeth Andoh is setting up a website for her new cook book. Some may know of her "Washoku" and "Kansha" books. "Kibo" will have recipes related to the Tohoku area and some of the proceeds will go to help out those affected by the disasters. She is also going to have events and signings so for that you can check the Taste of Culture website here.

I'm also submitting this to the J-Festa Winter in Japan round-up since nabemono is very much a part of chilly winters in Japan. After experiencing making and eating one, I can see why. Not only does it warm you up it's a great way to share a meal with those you like! The submission page for the Winter in Japan round-up is here.

I hope to have more cooking posts again. And more of the recipes I tested for "Kibo" in the future.

As to why this dish is called Oysters on the River Bank, did you figure it out? Because the miso mixture is like mud dissolving into the broth (water). Definitely tastes much better than mud but what a lovely way to name a dish.


  1. A bit late for a comment, but I really enjoy seeing your cooking posts. This one looks like a particularly tasty recipe. I'll be sure to check out Elizabeth Andoh's books.

    1. Thanks! I hope once I move it will be easier to take the photos for them and can have more cooking posts.

      I really like Elizabeth's books because she is very thorough with information and also covers a good variety of recipes. For me "Washoku" definitely was worth it and was exactly what I was looking for as a start to getting to know Japanese cooking and the ideas behind it.