April 24, 2011

My Father's Temae Miso/父の手前味噌

The word temae (lit. hand + before/in front of) has a number of meanings. It can be used to refer to the first person (and even the second person in some situations). Thus, temae miso literally means my/our miso, but it actually means self-praise, because almost everyone wants to boast of the miso they make themselves.
(The theme of episode 2 of the TV drama, Osen, is miso.)


Today, I got 13-kg of home-made miso from my father.
I tried to put all the miso in the fridge and the freezer.
But, I gave up the attempt halfway through. I think I'll store the rest (more than half) in a cool, dark place.

It's not true that miso can never go bad. It may be true of traditional, very salty miso, but modern less salty miso can go bad if not properly stored.

I think I'll use my father's temae miso in a variety of dishes!


Sissi said...

Hiroyuki, I remember so well the recently watched second episode of Osen... It made me dream about tasting a home-made miso and made me realise how difficult it is to prepare a home-made miso. How lucky you are to have your father's miso!
You make me crave for a miso dish! I think I'll go and prepare a mackerel simmered in miso!
By the way, I have been experimenting with bean sprouts tempura... I must admit I still have to master the difficult art of tempura batter first. The lumps, the thickness etc... (Mackerel in miso is much much easier ;-) )

Hiroyuki said...

Sissi: My father started making miso around 2008. His first miso was just terrible, although he boasted of it, saying it was made from koji (rice malt), soy beans, and salt only. His present miso has very much improved! A little bit saltier than most store-bought kinds.

Making decent tempura is difficult even for native Japanese! Keep trying!

Sissi said...

Hiroyuki, thank you for this encouragement. Yesterday I tried tempura with small thin bits of fish fillets (whiting) and it looked almost like tempura. Bean sprouts were a tragedy though (soggy, even though the taste was not bad), but maybe they were not crisp and fresh enough). Today I will try maybe with thin green asparagus.
I imagine your father's miso gets better every year... I wonder how they do the "low-salt" miso. I bought it once and it was very good. And I could put much much more of it in my miso soup.

Hiroyuki said...

Sissi: I will post about tempura when I have more free time.

"Low-salt" miso? Just reduce the amount of salt added, that's all. And, you have to be very careful not to let it go bad.

The same is true of umeboshi (pickled plums). Traditional umeboshi contains 20% or more salt, and won't go bad at room temperature, but comtemporary, less salty umeboshi must be stored in the fridge.

Anyway, be careful not to increase your intake of salt!