Sunday, November 16, 2014

Miso Risotto for a #SundaySupper On The Hunt

Miso Risotto for a #SundaySupper On The Hunt

One difference between where I lived in California and where I live in Washington is the number of ethnic grocery stores. They're more common in the San Francisco Bay Area. I can understand that demand drives their numbers so I had to look to find a supermarket that stocks imported Asian ingredients when I needed them for this dish. How does this fit in with this week's #SundaySupper theme of On The Hunt? Well, the ingredients used may either be sourced through traditional hunting methods, foraged (mushrooms, for example), or hunted down online or at far away ethnic supermarkets. For me, I chose option C because I imagine I'd be just as bad shot as Dick Cheney and didn't know where to begin foraging for other items. I went to a local chain called Uwajimaya for my miso paste and mirin.

Let's discuss the dish. Definitely a fusion concept applying Japanese ingredient substitutions to the Italian risotto method, but would it taste good? I've profiled the risotto method here several times in the past so there's nothing new from an execution standpoint however I was intrigued.

The Challenge

Successfully combine a Japanese flavor profile into an Italian dish.

The Source

I adapted the dish from Foodista


5 to 6 cups water
3 tablespoons white miso paste
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced (approximately 1-inch piece ginger root, peeled)
1 cup Arborio rice
Green leaves from 2 baby bok choy, julienned
1/2 cup mirin
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
2 green onions, sliced thin


1. Combine the water and miso in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a light simmer. Stir to dissolve the miso, then reduce the heat to keep warm.

2. Pour the oil in a skillet and place over medium heat. Once hot, sweat the ginger and shallots in the oil then add the rice to toast. Add the bok choy leaves and stir until wilted. Deglaze the skillet with the mirin, stirring until it evaporates. Add in the miso water, 1/2 cup to 1 cup at a time (eyeball it), stirring continually until each addition has been absorbed before adding another. Keep adding miso water and stir until the rice is al dente. (Start tasting the rice after three or four additions.)

3. Once the rice is cooked, stir in the soy and black pepper. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary, with more salt. Serve in warmed bowls garnished with green onions and almonds.


Before I proceed, let me first thank Stacy of Food Lust People Love and Tara of Noshing with the Nolands for hosting this week's event!

I made a few ingredient substitutions of my own. I substituted soy sauce for tamari, which is similar to soy, but milder and gluten-free. I also increased the amount of water because I know that three-and-a-half cups of water is insufficient to fully cook 1 cup of Arborio rice. I also found baby bok choy were a little more forgiving when julienned and did not need to remove the white stems.

From an execution standpoint, I found that, as the water evaporated during the process of stirring, the miso remained and became difficult to stir which prevented the grains of rice from cooking as evenly as I would have liked. I would recommend it only for those who are experienced with preparing more traditional risotto flavors. I recommend this more traditional preparation of risotto if you want to prepare risotto and have never done so. Ultimately Mrs. Stuntman only ate about half and quipped "Next time, just prepare my favorite. You know, the one with bacon and peas." I must admit, the dish was reminiscent of a poorly prepared fried rice.

For the record, Uwajimaya is about 8 miles away from my front door, but it's about a twenty minute drive without taking freeways, whereas the closest Asian supermarket from my previous residence was about half in distance and travel time. So despite my troubles with it, I am thankful for this dish because it presented the opportunity to explore my neighborhood and become more familiar with it.

Before you go, please review the other more successful #SundaySupper dishes that also feature ingredients that have been obtained on the hunt:

Spread it on Thick
Nibbles and Sides
The Main Event
Sweet Treats
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.


  1. LOVE your Japanese take on risotto, DB! So glad you made a visit to Uwajimaya.

  2. Such an intriguing combo or fusion of Asian and Italian.

  3. Well, despite it not being as good as your favorite risotto recipe, it sure sounds scrumptious. And you've reminded me to add miso to my pantry!

  4. I love it, DB. Thanks for sharing with #SundaySupper.

  5. I was kind of disappointed, as I am sure you were, with the miso stirring problem, DB, because the concept of the Japanese flavorings on arborio rice sounded perfect to me. What if you used dashi instead of the water and just skipped the miso the next time? I'd love to taste the results either way.

  6. Very interesting take on risotto. From your pic, your risotto looks a little loose so maybe next time you can play around with the water/broth ratios. And I like Stacy's idea of doing dashi instead of miso.

  7. I think this sounds really interesting!! Maybe toss the rose with a bit of miso then add water/stock?? Love the idea though!

  8. There are few things I love more than risotto. What a great idea to use miso!! I've got to try this..

  9. This is some amazing stuff! I can just imagine how delicious this miso risotto must be.

  10. That Dick Cheney line really made me lol! Love the twist you added to risotto.

  11. Now this is a very interesting dish! How about adding the miso paste only towards the end and cook the rice using boiling water as stock... it may solve the stirring problems? :-)

  12. Cracking up at the Dick Cheney quip!! I've had lots of trouble with miso in the past too. I love your fusion idea!

  13. DB, this risotto sounds amazing. I love the adaptation you have here and uwajimaya...that's one of my favorite stores! And yeah, I just switched to tamari, too and I like it (though it's more expensive)

  14. Interesting! I love the idea! Maybe next time you could try using dashi as your broth and stir in the miso in one of the last steps. What do you think?

  15. There's a 99 Ranch Market closer to you than Uwajimaya that carries Asian groceries and produce and generally has better prices :) this looks great though! ! :)

  16. You know, I love that you were straight up about this recipe not working as well as you wanted it to. I think reading about what doesn't work is just as helpful as reading about what does work! It takes a lot of experimenting sometimes to get things to come out the way that you want. :) Believe me, I know!


Feedback is always welcomed. If you're going to be critical, be constructive. In other words, be nice.