Ummmmmmmmmmami

by Marina Chotzinoff

Tonight it was back to something we might normally cook on any given night. Some comforting egg custard, brothy agedashi tofu and my favorite sesame greens. Mostly it was straight forward, though I had the challenge of figuring out how to make our standard japanese broth without bonito. Thinking umami and smokey I went with some steeped shiitakes and lapsang souchong, a smoked tea. Once they had steeped, I added a sheet of kombu and simmered for about 15 minutes, then removed it. I used about a cup for some chawan mushi, a silky egg custard, gently mixing it with some egg, straining and steaming. For the agesdashi, I reduced the rest of the broth for a few minutes and added soy, both light and dark, mirin and a pinch of salt. We fried some tofu cubes that went in the broth and were topped with grated ginger and green onion. We steamed some kale in the steamer with the custards, chilled it and tossed with some of the sesame past from Day 1. Finally, we topped the custard with some fried shoestring sweet potatoes dusted with seaweed salt.
Overall, this meal had great potential, but here are two places I failed….1) the agedashi broth needed to be more potent. It would have made an amazing soup, but needed more salt and sweet to support the tofu and 2) my ratio was a little off on the custard making it a little brothy which is not tragic, but pretty amateur. Alas- I enjoyed it and would for sure make that broth again for some udon soup with the sweet potatoes and greens floating in it and a gently poached egg on top.

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