June 3, 2010

Ama Ebi (Sweet Shrimp) Heads/甘エビの頭

The other day, I made miso soup with shrimp heads, like I did previously.
This time, however, I grilled the shrimp heads in the toaster oven before adding them to the pot, and I refrained from adding dashi no moto (instant dashi), the main ingredient of which is MSG.
I tasted the miso soup, and I found it rather weak. I didn't tell my family that I didn't add instant dashi, but they all knew instantly that there was something missing in the miso soup.

I know what the problem is. We have become so accustomed to the strong flavor of MSG that we find any foods or dishes without MSG to be bland.
何が問題かは分かっています。 MSGの強い味に慣れてしまっているので、MSGが入っていない食品や料理は味気ないと思ってしまうのです。

I didn't see any effect of grilling the shrimp heads before adding to the pot. I don't think this is necessary if the shrimp heads are fresh enough.


CFT said...

How long do you simmer the shrimp heads? I wonder if you had enough heads to extract much flavour?

Hiroyuki said...

Chee Fai: For one minute or so, I suppose, because I grilled them long enough (8-10 minutes).
I did a quick google search and found that one recipe calls for 16 sweet shrimp heads for 360 ml of water. I probably used 900 ml of water and the amount of sweet shrimp heads shown in the photo.
The sushi chef's wife told me that you don't have to add dashi to make miso soup with shrimp heads.
Visit this thread for a photo of the sushi shop's miso soup: