My mom thinks this vegan stuff is just a phase. Just as I go through other phases in my cooking, she tried to rationalize. She explained that first I was into cooking Japanese after my trip to Japan (all those soba noodles, Janet!), then Middle Eastern after visiting Turkey and Moroccan after my trip to Morocco. Each time, I venture into new cookbooks, find new spices, but truly, I incorporate everything I learn into all my meals. New ingredients, new flavours and new techniques.. it is all a learning process, as life should be. And yes, my pantry continues to gather new and exciting staples.
Granted, I can only eat so much, so I might tackle different cuisines in spurts. A little of Morocco here, a side trip to Brazil here, a quick jet to Egypt and then returning back to Japan. In these around-the-world culinary experiences, sometimes I forget how much I like certain ingredients. Case in point: miso. Last year, I bought miso for the first time to make baked eggplant with miso, which I adored at restos and could easily make at home. I also made miso-crusted black cod and a few other dishes which were great but then I went to Turkey… and forgot about miso.
Until, I made a Japanese winter stew with a miso-based broth. That kick-started it again. Loved it. It wasn’t the star of the meal, but it added an extra dimension. Then I made the orange-beet soup that had an extra twist from the miso. Followed up by the exquisitely delicious zesty orange cashew spread, I knew I had rediscovered an old favourite ingredient.
Plus, the great thing about miso is that I still had the same package from last year. It keeps forever in your fridge!! Discover it, forget about it, but let yourself rediscover it as you clean out your fridge.
I made this for Rob’s birthday, which had a Japanese-theme for his meal, and I loved it as an Asian spin on hummus. You use creamy edamame instead of chickpeas, but you still have lots of garlic and tahini for the prototypical hummus flavour. Instead of traditional lemon juice, lime juice is used. Throw in some spinach for some greenery, and you have a healthy, delicious dip.
It is not just a hummus made with edamame. I had the Trader Joe’s edamame hummus after eating this dip and was sorely disappointed – where was the miso?
It is creamy, smooth, salty with a bit of zip. Without knowing the ingredients, it is hard to place the flavours exactly, but you know it tastes great. Serve it with veggies, pita bread, or as a spread for a sandwich.
Edamame Miso Dip
1 1/4 cups (1/2 lb) shelled edamame, thawed if frozen
1 tbsp + 1 tsp mellow white miso
1/4 cup raw tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 cup baby spinach, lightly packed
5 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1. Bring a pot of salted to a boil. Once boiling, add edamame. Cook until al dente. Not mushy, but still with a bite. Drain and set aside.
2. In a food processor, blend the edamame, miso, tahini, oil, garlic, and spinach very well until totally smooth. This may take longer than you might think, but should be easier if you have cooked your edamame. Blend in the lime juice and salt until the mixture is consistently smooth.
3. Remove the dip from the food processor, using a rubber spatula if necessary. Place it on your serving dish and scatter the sesame seeds on top. Serve with crackers and carrots for dipping.
Makes 1.5 cups.