Thursday, March 12, 2015

Jellyfish, Wild Rice and Enoki Miso Soup

     Jellyfish?  The Health Benefits Of Jellyfish Are Amazing!
     Jellyfish is well known in Asia for being a medicinal food.  Jellyfish is loaded with Iodine.  Iodine is a necessary nutrient for thyroid system function.  A steady diet of food that has a high amount of Iodine has been proven to be an effective way to stop a few specific types of cancer.
     Iodine also is an effective way to cleanse radioactive toxins out of the body.  Radioactive isotopes tend to imbed themselves in the thyroid glands and other soft internal organs.  Iodine carries the radioactive isotopes out of the body.  Iodine can greatly reduce the risk of cancer from radiation poisoning.  This is important now and it will be important for many years to come, because of recent nuclear disasters in the Pacific region.  

     Edible jellyfish have a higher Iodine content than nearly any fish or seaweed.  Jellyfish do have a mild squid like flavor and texture, but the Iodine is the only flavor that is easily noticed.  Edible Yellow Boleti Mushrooms have a similar Iodine flavor.
     Jellyfish definitely is an acquired taste.  After eating jellyfish, the strong taste of the Iodine may remain on the palate through the next day.  Everything will taste metallic after eating jellyfish.

     I first saw jellyfish on a menu at the Harbor Palace Seafood Restaurant in Chinatown, Las Vegas.  On their menu, jellyfish was combined with squid and presented in a light sauce.  The jellyfish entrée sounded interesting!  The same restaurant also had a goose intestine entrée on the menu too.  I happened to order curried fish meat balls that day, because my British friend was rather squeamish about exotic food.
     My interest in jellyfish grew from that point on.  Later I noticed that Sam Woo's Chinese BBQ in Chinatown also had jellyfish on the menu.  Chinatown restaurants in Las Vegas is known for truly authentic Chinese cuisine.

     Jellyfish can be found in Asian food markets and it is usually sold dried, just like dried squid.  Jellyfish is also sold in vacuum sealed bags as a ready to eat salad.  The simple jellyfish salad package contains cooked plain jellyfish strips with a small packet of flavorful sauce.  I used the vacuum packed fresh cooked plain jellyfish instead of dried jellyfish for today's recipe.
     *This recipe yields 1 average bowl of soup!  (2 cups) 
     Any kind of  dried fish dashi broth can be used to make this recipe.  Dried anchovy, dried sardine or dried shaved bonito flakes can be used to make the dashi broth.  After the jellyfish is added, it will be difficult to tell what kind of fish was in the dashi broth!
     Wild Rice:
     Only a small portion of wild rice is needed for garnishing the soup!
     Wild rice is harvested by Native Americans in northern states.  Wild Rice also grows in China.  Wild rice is actually a reed plant grain that is very healthy to eat.
     A higher proportion of water is needed when cooking wild rice.
     Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil over high heat in a small sauce pot.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of American wild reed grain rice.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Cover the pot with a lid.
     Simmer and steam the wild rice, till it is tender, but not mushy.  (about 16 to 20 minutes)
     Drain the excess water off of the wild rice.
     Set the wild rice aside.
     Dashi Broth:  
     Step 1:  Boil 2 1/2 cups of water in a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 1 1/4 cup of chopped reconstituted Kombu or Wakame seaweed.
     Add 3 tablespoons of small sun dried anchovies.  (Dried sardine or shaved bonito flakes can also be used.)
     Step 2:  Boil the dashi broth for 10 minutes.  (5 minutes for shaved bonito flakes)
     Step 3:  Pour the dashi broth through a fine mesh strainer into a second sauce pot.
     Discard the fish and seaweed.

     Jellyfish, Wild Rice and Enoki Miso Soup:
     Step 1:  Place the sauce pot with the hot dashi broth over medium/medium low heat.  There should be about 2 cups of broth.  Add water if there is not enough.
     Step 2:  Add 1/4 teaspoon of thin soy sauce.
     Add 3 drops of pure sesame oil.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced ginger.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 3:  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of miso paste while whisking.  (white or pale yellow miso paste)
     Add the reserved portion of cooked wild rice.
     Add 2 to 3 ounces of diced reconstituted dried jellyfish or chopped vacuum packed pre-cooked jellyfish.
     Add 2 or 3 snow peas that are cut into very thin strips.
     Step 4:  Simmer and stir the soup for 1 to 2 minutes.
     Step 5:  Ladle the soup into a shallow soup bowl.
     Place a few fresh enoki mushrooms on the surface of the soup.
     Place a few thin bias sliced green onion slivers on the surface of the soup.
     The Iodine flavor from the jellyfish is actually warm and pleasing.   This is a very healthy bowl of miso soup!

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