When I have no time to cook, I revert to miso soup, the perfect healthy fast food. Not that I wouldn’t eat it otherwise, but miso soup has become a ritual for me for when I have an essay due (like…erm…now). It’s that time of year for students – the end of term is rolling around, and you’re either partying to celebrate, or if you’re an unfortunate law student, you’ve already been cramming since last week. Well, since forever really. So here is my lunch solution to those of you who don’t mind soggy bread or noodles, and want to eat healthy but comforting for the slogging days ahead. Fortunately, it’s super light, so even on sunny days it’s fabulous.
My version of miso is simply some stale bread chopped up into large chunks, with hot miso and some peas (maybe snow peas if there are some in the garden, or kale or whatever) poured over. It takes about two minutes, and I am not exaggerating. The miso contains a pretty impressive amount of protein, plus the veges and carbs are all in there. If you’re wondering what those flowery things are, they are called miner’s lettuce, and you can get the seeds to grow your own at Kings Seeds. Great for pot planting, plus they are frost hardy so you can grow them any time of year.
So, where does one find miso paste? The supermarket has some in the international food section, but most Asian supermarkets stock it for much less (Korean ones tend to have them in stock more often, like Kosco on Blenheim Rd, and they speak great English so it’s not a hard find). One 500g pottle is just over $5 at Kosco, which will last you ages, since you only need 1 Tbs per person. Wikipedia and Annabel Langbein have some interesting facts about miso as well, if you’re interested. I keep mine in the fridge after opening, and I suggest you do too.
Miso with bread
(quantities are per person)
1 Tbs (approx) miso paste
1 c water (approx)
some peas or snow peas
some spinach, bok choy, or whatever green leaves you have, or even some tofu (optional)
a handful of bread cut into large chunks
Place bread in serving bowl. Bring water to the boil in small saucepan. Add miso paste, smoosh a little to dissolve. Once dissolved, add peas and leaves, cook another minute, and pour over bread. Alternatively to save washing up you can dump the bread in the saucepan and eat out of that… desperate times call for desperate measures, you know?
Miso with noodles
Bring water to the boil in small saucepan. Add whatever noodles you want (I use soba noodles, which are healthy yet delicious, also available at Asian supermarkets), cook according to packet instructions. A minute before they’re done, add miso and dissolve it. Add veges, cook another minute, then serve. If you want you can serve it with a poached egg, just add the egg when you add the noodles (just be careful when mixing not to break the yolk).
Just a note: try not to eat more than one bowl of this a day. Miso has a very high sodium content, so unless you get the low sodium stuff, a bowl a day will keep your bodily bits happy.
PS. If you’re wondering about the title, it’s referring to the misery of being too busy to cook. That and existing the day before your essay is due. Sigh.