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Udon carbonara and miso tarte tatin: Ravinder Bhogal’s miso recipes

·4 min read

Miso, a soybean paste, is a miracle of fermented flavour, brimming with potential for delicious things that go way beyond mere soup. Essentially, it is a shortcut to umami, the Japanese concept of a fifth, deeply savoury taste that’s also found in mushrooms and parmesan. Shiro, the pale blond, fudgy variety of miso, is the most versatile and, for the uninitiated, a gateway to other varieties. It lends a salty creaminess to everything from savoury noodles to desserts.

Shiro miso udon kale carbonara

This border-blending carbonara brings Japan and Italy together on one plate, and is compulsive eating. The recipe also works with regular spaghetti or bucatini, too.

Prep 15 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 2

4 egg yolks
60g grated parmesan or pecorino romano, plus extra to serve
1 heaped tbsp shiro miso
Sea salt and black pepper
150g
guanciale, or pancetta
1
tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
, peeled and finely chopped
100g kale
200g udon noodles
2 spring onion
, green parts only, finely sliced
Togarashi, to serve

Whisk the egg yolks, parmesan and miso in a bowl, and season with sea salt (not too much, because the cheese is already quite salty) and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

Chop the meat into bite-sized chunks, then fry in a little olive oil in a hot pan until crisp. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Meanwhile, briefly fry the garlic in the same fat, until fragrant, then add the kale, saute until it wilts, and take off the heat.

Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions, then drain, reserving a cupful of the cooking water. Add the cooked udon and fried guanciale to the kale pan, and toss to mix.

Whisk a little of the reserved hot cooking water into the egg yolk mixture – this will help temper the eggs and prevent them scrambling – then pour the egg mix over the noodles and toss and stir to combine: the heat from the noodles will cook the egg, forming a thick sauce. It should be lovely and glossy, coating the noodles, but drizzle in a little more cooking liquid if you need to thin it out a bit.

Stir in the chopped spring onion greens and serve with a scattering of togarashi and extra parmesan, if desired.

Sweet miso caramel tarte tatin

Here, miso adds a welcome, savoury note to an otherwise sweet dessert – feel free to use red miso instead, for its complex, bitter notes.

Prep 10 min
Cook 1 hr 45 min
Serves 6

1 x 325g sheet all-butter puff pastry
75g butter
1
tbsp white miso paste
100g caster sugar
6 apples
(a mixture of sweet and sharp, such as cox’s and granny smith), cored and quartered
1 tbsp toasted black and white sesame seeds

Heat the oven to 180 C (160C fan)/350F/ gas 4.

Cut the pastry into a 24cm disc, using a dinner plate as a guide. Lightly prick it all over with a fork, lay on a tray lined with baking paper and chill in the fridge.

In a small pan, melt the butter and miso (or use a microwave), then whisk to make sure they are well combined.

Scatter the sugar over the base of a 20cm-diameter, cast-iron or heavy-based stainless-steel frying pan. Put the pan on a medium heat and cook the sugar, swirling the pan occasionally (do not stir), for about seven minutes, until it begins to dissolve and caramelise around the edges, and turns a deep amber. Add three-quarters of the butter-miso mix and swirl to combine.

Turn off the heat, arrange the apples rounded side down on top of the caramel, making sure they’re tightly packed in and there are no gaps, then brush with the remaining miso butter.

Bake the fruit for 30 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven and lay the disc of chilled puff pastry on top. Tuck the pastry edges down inside the pan, then use the tip of a small, sharp knife to prick a few holes in the top, so the steam can escape. Bake for a further 40 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.

Remove from the oven, leave to stand for two minutes, then place a plate on top of the pan and shake to loosen the tart. Working quickly and very carefully, protecting yourself from the hot handle and the hot caramel in the pan, invert the tart on to the plate. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds, cut into pieces and serve hot with creme fraiche or vanilla ice-cream.

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