These were the side vegetable dishes of my Vegan Japanese dinner. For those of you who missed some 'episodes', the antipasto was raw avocado sashimi, and the main Fried tofu puffs simmered in vegetable broth. I wanted to have a cooked and warm side vegetable dish, and a raw one. Of course variety, colour and difference in texture were as important as taste. For the warm vegetables I used broccoli and cauliflowers with a very easy miso sauce:
Broccoli and cauliflowers with easy miso sauce
A few broccoli and cauliflower florets
Hot vegetable stock (I used the broth strained from cooking the Fried tofu puffs simmered in vegetable stock - recycling is everything in Japanese Vegetarian Cuisine!)
Steam the broccoli and cauliflowers for a few minutes (they should be cooked but not mushy, nor too crunchy). In a small ball thin down about a tbsp of miso paste with some hot vegetable broth to make a thin paste. Arrange the broccoli and cauliflower florets in pretty serving bowls or small plates and drizzle just a little miso dressing on each dish. Don't overdress, as miso is quite salty, but leave some miso sauce in a side bowl for diners to help themselves if you like, or use the remaining miso sauce to make miso soup (this will be the last course, recipe coming soon).
For the raw vegetable dish I wanted crunchy Japanese pickles. I had some Takuan (bought) and I made the cucumber and radish pickles myself, as it is very easy!! I am growing radishes in pots, but "something" is nibbling at them! Never mind, I go around with the knife and save as much as I can! I also use the young tender leaves, they are lovely.
Quick Japanese Cucumber and Radish Pickles
1 cucumber (possibly the short Japanese type)
A few young radishes, with leaves
Salt (best to use unrefined salt)
Wash the cucumber and cut the into slices, and then into quarters. Clean the radishes well and then cut them into halves or quarters (depending on size). Leave the young leaves whole but trim excess stalk.
Place the radishes, leaves and cucumber pieces into a bowl and add 1 tsp of salt. Cover with with something heavy to press the vegetables down (for example fit another bowl on top and then put a heavy rock on top). Leave for a few hours (preferably overnight). Before serving rinse off all the salted water, squeeze lightly and drain well. Arrange the pickles on a small side plate.
Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©