I am doing a Japanese dinner for our Sunday meal. While there may be a main dish of meat and rice or noodles, Japanese meals usually include many small side dishes with a variety of textures, colors and tastes. The aesthetic— moritsuke—is that it is food for the soul as well as the stomach. I am making chicken teriyaki and this is one of the side dishes I decided should go with it.
You want to stir fry the peas until just tender crisp. White miso (Shiromiso; 白味噌) provides a distinctive sweetness and has a lighter flavor than the other forms of miso. With the mirin and rice vinegar you are seeking a balanced sweet/sour flavor. Finally, while making your own dashi is usually preferable, sometimes you just need a touch for its flavoe and powdered dashi is just easier.
Karl’s Miso Sugar Snap Peas
2 Tbs. mirin
1 Tbs. white miso
1 Tbs. rice vinegar, unseasoned
¼ tsp. Hon Dashi, powder
½ lb. sugar snap peas
1 tsp. neutral oil (like vegetable oil)
½ tsp. toasted sesame seeds
1. Mix the mirin, miso, vinegar, and dashi in a small cup and stir until the dashi has completely dissolved.
Tip: You may speed up this process by microwaving the bowl for 15 seconds, to warm the mixture slightly.
2. Rinse, de-string, and pat the peas completely dry.
Tip: Pea pods have a tough string running from the stem down the back of the pod. Break off the stem—leaving the string attached—and gently pull down on the string to remove it.
3. You want to slightly sear, not steam, the peas.
4. Heat the oil in a skillet and stir the peas for 3-4 minutes.
Tip: It is important that you do not overcook the peas. You want then crisp, not limp and floppy.
Note: Slightly underdone is better that even a little over done. Remember you will be cooking them just a bit more when you add the sauce.
5. Pour the sauce over the peas and toss to coat.
Tip: Do not cook for more than one minute after adding the sauce—30-45 seconds is better.
Note: You want to cook the sauce just enough to blend and thicken it slightly.
6. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the sesame seeds.
Tip: These peas may be served warm or slightly chilled.