Friday, September 14, 2012

Vegan Japanese Dinner part four, and my favourite miso soup is with eggplant, plus the winner of the gluten free cookbook giveaway

These are the final 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, and by clicking here you can find the side vegetables, Broccoli and cauliflowers with easy miso sauce, and Quick Japanese Cucumber and Radish Pickles.

So, how do you finish a Japanese meal? Usually with soup and rice (dessert is optional really, a little seasonal fruit is preferred, like in this Autumn meal, where the fruit was persimmon, this fancy Japanese picnic basket, with mandarins - they are easy to carry, or this Summer meal, where dessert was... berries). 

But not fruit tonight, we just finished with rice and soup. Rice is served at the end to fill  the stomach, and diners eat what they need according to their body mass (this, I was told by a Ryokan chef in Kyoto, Nami, is it true?). By the time I served the rice and soup the light was gone, so apologies for the bad photos. Also, I had to hurry before the soup got cold! The rice is short grain and needs to be rinsed a few times, and then cooked by absorption. Usually I don't add salt to it. When ready I just put a umeboshi (pickled plum) on top, something usually done for breakfast in Japan, but I don't eat rice for breakfast so I use my umeboshi for lunch or dinner :-). And for the miso soup? Well, I like all types, but miso with eggplant is my favourite!

Miso soup with eggplant, tofu and onion weed

First you have to go back for a moment to the Fried tofu puffs simmered in vegetable broth, I used some light vegetable stock to cook the tofu puffs, and the leftover broth after draining the tofu was the base for my miso soup. Then I cut two long eggplants into six pieces each. I took the stock back to simmering point and I added the eggplants and four small cubes of Japanese freeze dried tofu (available in Japanese shops - but I have Japanese friends who send it to me by post regularly. Thank you Hideko and Atsuko!). I simmered everything for 30 minutes, then I took the miso paste left over from Broccoli and cauliflowers with easy miso sauce (in Japanese Zen cuisine everything is recycled!), and added a bit more miso paste to get the amount I wanted - personal taste here, and mixed it well. With chopstick I picked up the eggplant pieces and tofu and divided them between four bowl (3 pieces of eggplant and 1 small block of tofu for each bowl) then I quickly mixed the miso paste with the broth, and poured it into the bowls. To finish I topped the soups with some chopped onion weed. I love miso soup with eggplants! Did I said that already? :-)

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

And now for the winner of the beautiful book by Sarah King:
The Family-friendly Gluten-free Cookbook  (RRP $39.99), courtesy of New Holland Publishers NZ. The winner has been chosen with and....

List Randomizer

There were 16 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
1.             Robyn
2.             Arfi
3.             Jane
4.             JT
5.             Anonymos ,
6.             Rebecca
7.             Emma
8.             Anita
9.             Rochelle Harrison
10.         Laura
11.         Ashley
12.         Claire
13.         Lucy
14.         Leanne
15.         Simo
16.         Mel
Timestamp: 2012-09-14 19:35:36 UTC
Congratulation Robyn! Please send me your address by email at alessandra at clear dot net dot nz


  1. So beautiful, so delicious and SO healthy - not to mention elegant - wow - what a great meal!
    Mary x

  2. Eggplant miso soup: heavenly delicious flavor combination! :)

  3. Non ho mai provato la miso soup con le melanzane(il miso lo consumo praticamente tutti i giorni)
    Buona idea cara.Ma risci a mangiare la umeboshi nature?Io per ora riesco solo un pochino di purea ma, ci ho messo del tempo!

    1. L'umeboshi mi piace molto, con il riso ovviamente :-). Ma ho vissuto in Giappone e mi sono abituata a certi sapori. E poi quando compravo le 'palle' di riso che si usano li come spuntini, le uniche vegetariane erano quelle con le umeboshi dentro (e un altro tipo con l'alga) e quindi mi sono dovuta abituare per forza :-).

  4. la tua cena tutta insieme è davvero speciale e unica...complimenti :)

  5. The whole Japanese menu looks sensational! I love how it all fits together - and the concept of recycling or layering ingredients really appeals to me! And, of course, great photos!!

    Hope your weekend is going well!

  6. Thanks Red, and as you see there is a lot of red in the props :-)

  7. Such pretty images..they make me want Japanese tonight! Hope your weekend is amazing. xoxo

  8. devo provare adesso che ci sono ancora buone melanzane, la zuppa di miso piace tanto anche a me :)

    1. Guarda se trovi le melanzane piccole e lunghe, stile asiatico, sono le più adatte secondo me.

  9. What a wonderful. It sounds delicious from first to last course. I'm sure the winner of the cookbook will love baking from it. Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings...Mary

  10. Goodmorning

    I missed the giveaway result when first I read this post, so it was a wonderful surprise to find the randomizer had selected my name. I will no longer be able to say 'I never win anything'! I applied with my brother and sister-in-law in mind, they will be really pleased to receive Sarah King's book, with her kiwi family ideas, as they get used to avoiding gluten. Thank you Alessandra and thank you New Holland Publishers NZ.

    I spent more than 20 years in Japan, love Japanese homestyle food and cook it regularly. Alessandra your pretty presentation of a family meal has clearly encouraged lots of others here. Beautifully done.


  11. Thank you Robyn, and I am sure that your brother and your sister in law will enjoy the book :-)

  12. sarà stato anche buio, ma le foto di questa zuppa di miso mi son piaciute parecchio ma parecchio davvero. e pure la zuppa ovviamente. tuo give-away... ;-)


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