Thursday, September 30, 2010

Nori Wrapped Sesame Tuna & Miso Soup

For once, I remembered to thaw something out from the freezer, so it was tuna this evening!  The star of the show tonight is sesame--whether sesame seeds or sesame oil.  Sesame oil isn't all that hard to find; you can generally pick it up at any well-stocked supermarket in the Asian section, but be sure to refrigerate it after opening because sesame oil can go rancid a little faster than other oils.  Miso soup again?  Yes, but this is a more "classic" form of miso soup made with wakame seaweed.  I didn't have any tofu, however, so I modified it by using udon noodles.

Nori Wrapped Sesame Tuna & Miso Soup


piece of tuna steak (I don't know the weight, but it should be about 6 cubic inches)
1/2 sheet nori seaweed
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1 c. water
1 tsp. dashi granules
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 - 2 oz dried udon noodles, broken in half
1 Tbsp. dried wakame seaweed
1 dried shiitake mushroom
1 Tbsp. red miso (white miso is fine, too)
large handful of baby spinach
1 tsp. yasai fumi fuikake rice seasoning (see Note)
extra sesame seeds
soy sauce (to serve)

Note:  Yasai fumi fuikake is a type of rice seasoning that contains sesame seeds, dried carrots, spinach, pumpkin, celery, Japanese mustard plant and other seasonings.  It's just one of many flavors of rice seasonings that come in shaker bottles.  You can get them in the Asian section of supermarkets, but I think I've only seen them in more specialty places.  You can use any flavor of rice seasoning for this recipe, but if you can't find it, you can certainly just use more plain sesame seeds.

Put the mushroom in a small bowl and pour boiling water over it.  Let stand to reconstitute.  After the mushroom softens, squeeze out the excess liquid and cut into slices.  Put the wakame in a separate bowl and pour cold water over it.  Let stand to reconstitute.  After the wakame softens and expands, drain the liquid and rinse the seaweed thoroughly.  Set aside.

Cut the tuna into cubes 1 in. thick.  Roll the fish pieces in the sesame oil, and then in the sesame seeds.  Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut the nori sheet into 1 in. strips.  Wrap a strip around each tuna piece, trimming off the excess nori so that it goes around the fish once with only a little overlap.

Boil water in a pot, then add the spinach.  Cook 1-2 min. to blanch, then drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.  Roll the spinach into a ball and squeeze as much liquid out as you possibly can.  Set aside.

Boil water in a pot, then add the udon noodles.  Cook according to package directions, then drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add the fish pieces, exposed end down.  Do not add any extra oil.  Cook the fish on one side until well browned, then flip over to the other exposed end and cook until browned.  The tuna pieces will still be a little raw in the middle, but if you'd like your fish fully cooked, just cook each end a little longer.  Remove from heat after the fish you're done cooking.

Boil the measured water in a pot, then add the dashi granules and soy sauce.  Stir until the granules are completely dissolved.  Add the wakame and mushroom and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add the noodles and cook until heated.  Finally, add the miso paste and turn off the heat.  Stir to dissolve the miso.  Sprinkle with extra sesame seeds.

To serve, spoon the soup into a serving bowl.  Put the tuna on a small plate, and the spinach next to the fish.  Make an indentation in the top of the spinach ball and fill with rice seasoning.  Serve with soy sauce.

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