Miso Soup | Traditional Japanese Dish
Japanese cuisine is a long-standing tradition, and one will often hear the Japanese refer to cuisine as something to first look at, then eat. Miso soup began as a traditional food about 1,300 years ago when it was introduced to the island by Buddhist priests. At this time, rice was an expensive luxury, so only the wealthy in Japan could enjoy miso soup. It became a staple part of their diet after people realized it was a great energy booster.
The process of making miso soup can take anywhere between three weeks to three years. One ferments soy beans, rice, salt, and grains all together in cedar barrels. Seaweed and tofu are also important ingredients in miso, added after the fermentation processes. Miso making is a delicate art in Japan, which is why different flavors and processes are so important.
The miso soup I made and ate had veggies, seaweed, and tofu chunks. I really enjoy the miso broth- it has an unexplainable comforting taste. Seaweed has always been a bit of a strange food in my eyes, but it definitely is a great addition to the soup. I also am not a huge tofu fan, but in miso soup it fits perfectly and adds a bit of substance to the soup.
Rice Noodles and Dumplings | Traditional Chinese Dish
Rice Noodles are a popular food in Asian countries for many reasons. The ease of growing rice makes the food easy to get and cheap. Rice is easy to digest and has some hypoallergenic properties. China is both the largest producer of rice and the largest consumer of it. The most popular type of rice used for noodles is indica. It can adapt to different temperatures so it can be used around the entire country- city and country alike. Rice and rice noodles are incredibly versatile, making it easy to adapt to any dish. Rice noodles are made simply by forming the rice into thin noodles. This dish can be served as a main entry or as a side dish and can have various flavors. Usually, rice noodles are mixed into a soup. It can be served with meats or vegetables or can even just be stir-fried .
Dumplings are often a compliment of rice noodle soups, and are an ancient food. The first recipes for dumplings are found in Roman texts. The cultural significance of this food in Chinese culture can go back further than 1,800 years ago. It is believed in China that you cannot welcome the new year without this traditional food. Dumplings are said to have high medicinal qualities, according to Eating The Globe. The traditional story in China about dumplings is that a man created them after seeing his fellow villagers suffering from frostbite. He made a mix of chili, herbs, and meats and wrapped it up in dough. After boiling them, he passed them around the village and the warm goodness healed them of their afflictions. Dumplings now can be filled with a variety of bases including pork, cabbage, seafood, and other veggies. These are often served as a main dish in Chinese homes, and always on New Year’s Eve.
I made myself a soup of rice noodles with veggies and green onions along with some dumplings. After pan frying the pork dumplings I added them into the soup. The rice noodles were surprisingly filling and delicious!