Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Grilled Vegetable Kebabs with Miso Glaze

Once in a great while there is a dish that reaches out and grabs you by the taste buds and reels you in so you never forget it. The miso-grilled black cod at Yoshi’s Japanese restaurant in Oakland was just such a dish. The lusciousness of the fish, the sweet-salty taste of the miso marinade and the smoky char of the grill combined to make a memorable experience.

It was the memory of that dish that made me decide to buy The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger. I’m reviewing the book for Paper Palate (here's the link) and I wrote about her Double Chocolate Pudding Pie with my S’More Topping Option here.

The first chance I could I wanted to make Krieger’s Miso-Glazed Cod. But since I was cooking for a vegetarian potluck so I decided to adapt the miso marinade for tofu and vegetable kebabs. The result was:

Miso-Glazed Tofu, Mushroom and Zucchini KebabsAdapted and Inspired by Ellie Krieger's Miso-Glazed Cod, The Foods You Crave, Taunton Press
Serves 3-4 as a main course, 8 as an appetizer

Note: Feel free to add more veggies to each skewer or substitute vegetables. The below just recaptures what I did. Veggies and tofu should be cut about the same size so they will grill evenly. Hard or long-cooking veggies should be partially precooked in the microwave or steamed.

8 kebab skewers
One recipe of miso marinade (see below)
1 large onion cut into 16 large chunks or several small onions cut into 16 thickish rings
12-16 ounces of firm tofu (one package), drained, rinsed, dried and cut into approx. 1” chunks
2-3 large zucchinis, cut into 16 thick slices or chunks
8 fresh shitake mushrooms, cleaned and stems cut off

If the skewers are wood or bamboo, cover them with water to soak for about a half hour or more.
Make the miso marinade (see recipe below) and set aside.
Slice or cut the onion into appropriate sized pieces. Put in a microwave safe dish with a tablespoon of water. Cover and microwave for about a minute or so until the onion pieces have just begun to soften. Set aside.
Thread the kebabs. I used a slice of zucchini, a piece of onion, a tofu chunk, another slice of zucchini, another tofu chunk followed by a second chunk or ring of onion, capped off by a fresh shitake mushroom cap.
Lightly brush the marinade over the vegetables and tofu. Cover and let the flavors absorb for at least a half hour or up to several.

Oil grill. Heat grill. Place kebabs on grill. Brush miso marinade on the kebabs. Grill, turning and brushing more marinade on as needed. When the vegetables are cooked through and the tofu is nicely charred, remove from grill. Serve with a splash of soy sauce or Chinese black rice vinegar if desired. Pass chili paste on the side (optional).

Miso Marinade
1/3 cup white miso
¼ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon of Asian toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons of mirin (Japanese rice wine for cooking)

Combine all ingredients.

Update:  Paper Palate and its links are long gone, so thank goodness for the Wayback Machine and it's internet archives.  You can see the original post here, along with a few other recipes from the book. (6/15)

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