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Tofu misozuke update #6 – Rooibos-miso marinade

Here we report on some preliminary experiments to drive the speciation of tofu misozuke into heretofore unexplored habitats – we’re trying out new ingredients to add to the basic miso marinade. We experimented with yuzu, shiitake, and rooibos. Yuzu and shiitake both came from the native habitat of tofu misozuke. Rooibos is a red tea made from plants native to South Africa. We were blown away by this last, non-terroir based combination. Tofu miso-rooibos-zuke was fragrant with contributions from both ingredients, and the flavor was rich in umami from miso and a sweetness from the rooibos. Not bad for a flavor dreamed up while sipping rooibos tea!

Tofu miso-rooibos-zuke - sampled then split in half so each of us could get a delicious piece.

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Cừu ướp nước lựu / Lamb chops with pomegranate reduction

Oanh dreamt up this dish while we were brainstorming what to cook for her parents over Thanksgiving. We love lamb but it is a rarity in Vietnamese cooking and therefore always a novelty that we want to introduce to our parents. We’ve previously tried to pair lamb with tamarind, which were intriguing but could be improved. Pairing lamb with pomegranate produced a better blending of flavors while accentuating the flavor of the meat. We know the pairing worked because the chops were served to lamb skeptics and the plates were eaten clean even of the pomegranate reduction that was rich in lamb flavor.

Cừu ướp nước lựu / Lamb chops with pomegranate reduction (foreground)

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Bánh Đập Pháp Việt (French-Vietnamese grilled Époisses rice crackling)

We’re excited to present this recipe which combines infamous delicacies from Vietnamese and French cuisine. We’re huge fans of a Burgundy cheese called Époisses, a cheese so potent it’s supposedly (apocryphally?) banned from public transportation. The first time we had it, we immediately thought “Oh, this smells like mắm (salty fermented fish/seafood)!” In our take on the north-central dish bánh đập, we finally had a chance to combine Époisses with mắm to astonishingly harmonious effects. In the process, we had crystallized for us a concept we’ve always been aware of regarding food, but never seen so vivid a demonstration thereof.

Bánh đập with melted Époisses


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Thịt kho trong trái bí (caramelized pork braised in squash)

In Michigan these days, the farmers market stocks are dwindling save for vibrant, colorful displays of winter squash that we don’t know what to do with. Well, roasted squash is always delicious, but for the variety and abundance of squash available, more ought to be done with them. We finally got inspired by daetongbap / Korean rice cooked in bamboo and baked pumpkin oatmeal to make several dishes using the squash as the cooking vessel. Here we introduce a new dish: Thịt kho trong trái bí (Caramelized pork braised in squash). The rich pork flavor, caramelized coconut sugar, fish sauce, and spices permeate the squash while extracting from it a  smoky sweetness. The dish taste different and new yet comforting, containing within it home-for-the-holidays flavors both from the New World and the Old Country.

Thịt kho trong trái bí / Caramelized porked braised in squash : fresh from the oven

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Bossam-inspired oysters

Lamp and I love bossam: the succulent, juicy and flavorful pork is complemented by the aromatic sesame leaf, briny oysters, sweet kimchi and salty fermented shrimps. Being so much in love with the dish, I couldn’t stop thinking about the disparate components and how well they combine together. I was particularly intrigued by the contribution of raw oysters to the overall experience of bossam and decided to make oysters the focus of our homage to bossam. Most of the flavors and spices of bossam were included in this recipe but with oysters providing juiciness and succulence, boiled pork belly was replaced with prosciutto.

Bossam-inspired oysters & prosciutto (photo courtesy of Mai @ FlavorBoulevard)

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