Japan fascination. Vegetable miso soup recipe

“The guided tour is at 11 am. Do we manage?” – the SMS clicked on Sunday morning

Art exhibition hall Kunstforum created Fascination with Japan exhibit. Monet, Vann Gogh, Klimt

Friday was my lucky day – during morning coffee my friend told me about a new exhibit. Yeh, it is Vienna, everyone meets for coffee here, during coffee we are talking business, sharing the latest rumours or just watching  the life flow through the windows.

Japan always took a special part in my life.

So far away yet so close. Mysterious and powerful, different culture, cousin and energies, philosophy and life style. First it was my hobby judo, learning to control body to be like these mysterious ninja in the movies. To learn to be able to wait while being focused and relaxed, to be able to catch the winning moment for offensive. First discovery: relaxation is a natural protection. It takes more efforts to separate such an opponent from the ground or even more efforts to make a throw. Maybe this is why fight on tatami is being transformed into a dance, rhythm, melody, movement.
Then I became interested with Japanese language. My teacher of Japanese who happened to be the best translator commented on my beautiful handwriting. There are languages like Japanese and Chinese that use images to communicate. They activate the right side of the brain, creative side, not the left , logical side of the which is usually activated when speaking Russian or German.
Later i started to take lessons of calligraphy from Japanese artist. Calligraphy as a form of meditation. Concentration and connection of the flowing breath with movement of the wrist. If concentration breaks line becomes not straight, with wrong angle or pressure. Lightness, rhythm and order.

Japanese art is a reflection of concentration, imprinting moment of meditation.

At the end of 18th century Japan quit its century long hermitage from the world and at the end of 18th, beginning of 19th century there was blossoming, boom of arts. Western world meets Japanese culture and gets spellbound with its magic.
World art exhibition took place in Vienna in 1867 and well calculated Austrians were buying art for their collections, museums and reserves.
“Now we got an opportunity to show at least a small part of these masterpieces” – our guide told us.

European artists are fascinated with Japan turning it into fashion trend.

These are not just Japanese decorations, elements or storylines, not only Japanese ornaments or motives. It’s goes much deeper.
European geniuses are playing with Japanese composition style, color choices, style, images of animals and plants.
Or like in meditation watching one subject from different angles to reach the heights of Japanese master Katsushika Hokusai and his series of 36 views of Mount Fuji.

Japanese love to study and depict flora and fauna. It is one of the leading lines of Japanese art and one of the themes most loved by artists.

October asked to add more contrast combinations and stood matching Japanese flag. Same in gastronomic world. Soup miso became very popular. Next post will include Japanese cousine recipe – veggie rolls. Recipe itself was born in Odessa, Ukraine. There should be no surprise – Odessa being port on the Black Sea is always aware of all the world’s trends, traditions and cousine.
Legend says that miso soup was created by travelers and warriors, first mentioned 3000 years ago. Miso paste is fermented from beans, soy and rice. It can be stored for a long time, nutritious and does well to restore energy levels. Miso soup is easy to make while traveling – boil water, add veggies and greens that are growing in the area, mix a spoonful of miso and dinner is ready. And samurai, feeling light is ready for hikes and battles.
There are 2 easy rules to save nutrients of miso:
–  instead of boiling, add miso in warm water, stir and let it sit
– don’t use metal utensils to prevent paste from oxidation. Perhaps this is way Japanese prefer porcelain soup spoons.

Miso soup recipe

Ingredients

  • Mugi Miso Paste (or any other type of miso paste you like)– 2 Tbsp
  • Brussels sprouts – 5 – 8 sprouts
  • Sea veggies (dry) – 2 tbsp
  • Silk tofu – 100 g
  • Water – 0.6 l – we aim to have 0.5 l of the broth, so 1 Tbsp of miso paste for ¼ l
  • Leek – 5 – 7 cm
  • Parsley

Directions

  1. Make broth from the Brussels sprouts – add the sprouts to the boiling water in to the pot and then cook the broth over 10 min on the low heat.
  2. soak sea veggies in the cold water for 10 – 15 minutes (or as per the instruction on the veggies package)
  3. while the broth is cooking cut the tofu into cubes and leak in fine circles
  4. when the broth is ready take out the sprouts
  5. take a cup of the broth into a separate cup for miso paste
  6. add sea veggies, tofu and leek to the pot with the broth (it is still on low hear)
  7. add miso paste into the cup with the broth ( see p.5) and stir the paste into the broth to get the homogeneous mass. As miso is fermented it is better to avoid heating / boiling it, so we keep all healthy ingredients in the soup.
  8. cut the sprouts into halves and add back to the soup pot
  9. add a broth with miso paste to the soup, shut down the heat, stir the soup, add fine cut parsley on the top of the soup. Leave the soup for a minute or 2 in the pot and then it is ready to serve.