SouperChef Special | Spicy Barramundi Miso Jjigae
(Fish* | Dairy-Free | Gluten-Free | Spicy)
(* May contain fine fish bones)
I am a huge fan of soups, particularly Korean and Japanese ones. This stew is a Nabe X Jjigae, inspired by the very famous Ishikari from Hokkaido and the unforgettable Haemultang from Jeju island.
From the freshest catch of the sea to the vast produce of the land, Hokkaido is a tasty paradise. The mention of Hokkaido inexplicably conjures up mouth-watering visions of succulent and fresh seafood. Located in the northernmost end of Japan’s 47 prefectures, the coastline location is perfect for harvesting much of the high quality seafood from the cold waters. Blessed with wide, open spaces and favourable soil conditions, the island is home to almost a quarter of Japan’s arable land for agriculture and farming. It also produces some of the best milk and dairy products, along with corn, potatoes and THE famous melons.
Like in Alaska, salmon is a way of life on Hokkaido. The Ishikari River is the largest in Hokkaido, draining into the Sea of Japan. For generations, fishermen there have flocked to the Ishikari River, where the salmon return to spawn every fall. For generations too, they’ve enjoyed the area’s namesake hotpot cooked with their fresh catch. Along with salmon, this classic version calls for potatoes, yellow onions, vegetables introduced to Japan by the Dutch traders about 400 years ago. Once known as “Fishermen’s Food”, salmon hot pot (Ishikari-nabe in honour of the Ishikari River) is a delicious combination of salmon, vegetables and tofu boiled in a miso paste stock. Bringing together the flavours from the sea and land, this one-pot dish makes for a robust meal — perfect for the chilly Hokkaido winter! Originally, this type of 鍋物 nabemono (stew cooked in a 土鍋 donabe clay hotpot) was called salmon hotpot but since it originated from Ishikari and when it was brought over to Tokyo, the geographical name stuck. The salmon and tofu in this dish provide good sources of protein that can keep one full and feel warmer even longer.
Jeju Island is known for the abundance of rocks, women and wind, earning it the moniker “Samdado Island,” for having plenty of the “three features.” But another feature to add is its food. The island, surrounded by the sea with Hallasan Mountain in the centre and vast stretches of fields growing vegetables, boasts a wide variety of natural produce. However, seafood dishes are the star on Jeju Island. And if one faces a difficult decision of what to choose among hundreds of seafood specialties that local restaurants offer, one is recommended to have a spicy assorted seafood stew, called “haemultang” in Korean.
Haemultang or spicy seafood stew is one of Korea’s most famous traditional foods and it is one of the best known savoury dish. It left a deep impression on my taste buds when I had it for breakfast in Jeju island a few years back. The broth was spicy but yet sweet, richly packed with abundant seafood from blue crabs, abalones, shrimps and clams, all seasoned with gojuchang, a red pepper paste. The most important characteristic of good haemultang is its fresh ingredients. The soup can contains various vegetables such as peppers, mushrooms, onions, bean sprouts, dropwort, leaks, crown daisies and much more, supplementing its spicy, refreshing deep taste. Its combination gives it a rich flavour and an amazing taste that’s also excellent for health.
My ultimate inspiration was to combine these two recipes into one hearty spicy yet savourystew filled with dangmyeon, nato sprouts, potatoes and mushrooms. In place of salmon, we have used the clean-tasting barramundi here, high in omega-3, protein and essential vitamins and minerals! I find that the flavourful Japanese and Korean miso-dashi broth really imparts a lot of flavour to the hearty potatoes and rich salmon while the onions add a wonderful sweetness to the broth. The addition of red pepper paste and chillies adds a spicy kick. A little Japanese sansho pepper sprinkled on top completes the dish!
Ingredients: Fish stock (water, fish, root vegetables, herbs), barramundi, potatoes, carrots, zucchini, napa cabbage, white radish, beancurd, nato sprouts, shiitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, green chillies, onions, garlic, ginger, shiro miso, doenjang, dangmyeon (sweet potato starch noodles), chilli powder
Condiments: Togarashi, chopped spring onion, shredded seaweed