Miso Tasty asked food stylist and author Aya Nishimura, about recipes, cooking with miso and what’s in his pantry

1) Tell us what you do.

I am a food stylist and author of “Japanese Food Made Easy”, which was just published a few months ago by Murdoch Books.

2) What do you always have in your pantry for knocking up a quick meal?

Dried soba or udon noodles and good quality dried Dashi packs. So I can make noodle soup (my comfort food) quickly.

3) What’s your favourite secret ingredient?

Homemade chilli oil, which is in my book. Also I feel uneasy when my bottle of Okonomiyaki sauce is ending….My grandma used to run an okonomiyaki restaurant, so a love of okonomiyaki is in my genes.

4) Do you use miso in your cooking? If so, how do you use it?

Of course! My absolute favourite is miso soup, it’s my soul food. I also make miso marinated fish, and I often use it for dressings, or dipping sauces for noodles. It gives depth to the flavour and is so versatile to use.

“My grandma used to run an okonomiyaki restaurant, so a love of okonomiyaki is in my genes.”

Aya Nishimura

5) Has your cooking changed during lockdown? What are you making that’s different?

It has, I started to cook more vegetables, pulses and tofu due to less access to fresh meat and fish. I want to continue this even after lockdown. Also, I always have been, but find myself even more cautious about food wastage.

6) Tell us something you recently made and how you made it.

Chilled ramen noodle salad with a sesame and miso dressing. This is an ultimate summer dish for Japanese people!

COLD EGG NOODLE SALAD recipe by Aya Nishimura




  • 2 skinless chicken breast fillets, about 300 g (101/2 oz)
  • 3 Egg Crepes (see below)
  • 2 tomatoes, halved lengthways and sliced
  • ½ cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • ½ quantity of Miso Dressing (see below)
  • 360 g (123/4 oz) dried egg noodles
  • 30 g (1 oz) Pickled Ginger, finely chopped, optional (see below)

This is a simple but satisfying lunch option that includes vegetables, meat, eggs and carbohydrates all in one dish. Try it with different toppings, such as prawns (shrimp), Soy-marinated Boiled Eggs or Tea-braised Pork.

Place the chicken in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil over medium heat. As soon as it reaches boiling point, turn off the heat and leave the chicken in the water for 15 minutes.

Cook the egg noodles according to the packet instructions, then drain and rinse under cold running water until cool.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove it from the water and shred the meat.

Divide the noodles among four plates. Arrange the chicken, Egg Crepes, tomato and cucumber on top. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve sprinkled with the Pickled Ginger.

Kinshi Tamago (Egg Crepes)

Beat 2 eggs, ½ teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar, ½ teaspoon sake and a pinch of sea salt together in a bowl. Prepare a wet tea towel.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium–low heat. Wipe the pan with oiled paper towel. Pour one-third of the egg mixture into the pan and swirl to cover the base of the pan. Cook until the egg starts to set, then take the pan off the heat and cover with the wet tea towel for 1 minute.

Remove the tea towel. Place the pan back on the heat, cover with a lid and cook for another minute. Remove the crepe with a spatula and place on a chopping board. Repeat.

Stack 3 sheets of crepes and roll them together. Cut them into 3 mm (1/8 inch) thick slices. Makes 3 sheets.

Sesame Miso Sauce (Miso Dressing)


  • 1/4 cup (40 g) white sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) red miso
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 21/4 teaspoons soy sauce

Gently toast the sesame seeds in a small frying pan over low heat, shaking the pan from time to time to prevent burning.

As soon as you hear the sesame seeds popping, take the pan off the heat and leave them to cool down.

Transfer the sesame seeds to a suribachi or mortar and coarsely grind them.

Mix the sugar, miso, tahini, soy sauce, dashi and ground sesame seeds in a bowl, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Pickled Ginger


When you find fresh ginger, do try this – it’s less sweet and much healthier than the commercial product.


  • 200 g (7 oz) fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt,
  • plus extra for salting
  • 100 ml (31/2 fl oz) rice vinegar
  • 90 g (31/4 oz) light brown sugar
  • 50 ml (11/2 fl oz) sake

Place the ginger in a bowl and sprinkle with some salt. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Combine the salt, vinegar, sugar, sake and 50 ml (11/2 fl oz) water in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until the sugar and salt have dissolved.

Use clean hands to squeeze the ginger to remove any excess liquid and place the ginger in a sterilised jar. Pour the warm pickling liquid over the ginger and leave to pickle overnight.

You can eat this the next day, but it tastes better after 3 days.

Keep refrigerated for up to 1 month.

Aya Nishimura’s new cookbook, Japanese Food Made Easy is published by Murdoch Books and is available at all good book stores.

Find out more about Aya Nishimura on her website at www.ayanishimura.com and follow her on Instagram @ayamomochan.

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2020-12-16T17:14:11+00:00Discover, Pantry Stories|

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