After a weekend of heavy food, and lots of rich desserts, I just craved for something simple, yet tasty. Wafu really means ‘Japanese-style’ of a foreign food, that has been adapted to suit Japanese tastes and preferences. There are lots of other wafu foods – most famous is the wonderful wafu salad dressing.
I remembered to a time when I was around 9, and my family and I were in Tokyo. We had this wonderful spaghetti dish that I still remember fondly. I remember the seaweed, the wonderfully creamy miso-like sauce and that it was a warm dish (while it was quite cold, weather-wise that day). I have tried to recreate that wonderful dish, but I still haven’t been able to reenact that awe and wonder that I felt with the first mouthful that I had that gloomy evening in Tokyo.
I found a variety of mushrooms from the supermarket the other day, and I was glad that they had the 2 types of oyster mushrooms and the shiitake. You can use any type of mushrooms, but I love the meaty texture of the shiitake.
The miso I use here is of the Shiromiso variety – medium brown in colour. The flavour is quite lighter than the dark red versions, and I bought one that is labeled ‘medium sweet’, as it is more versatile. You can use it as marinades, or in miso soup.
I used a pair of scissors to cute the big sheet of nori seaweed into thin slices. You can buy them ready shredded, of course, but I usually buy my nori in sheets.
I usually garnish my wafu pasta with a little furikake, a type of Japanese seasoning that has dried bonito flakes and sesame seeds in them, and a little shichimi chilli powder for a little extra kick. You can opt not to garnish with them, and just use lightly toasted sesame seeds instead.
You can choose whatever pasta you like – I am inclined to use spaghetti, but any noodle-like pasta would do fine – linguine would do fine.
Ingredients: (for 1 person)
- a handful of mushrooms, of your choice.
- 1 portion of spaghetti, or any noodle-like pasta (like linguine) of your choice.
- 1 tbsp of olive oil, plus a bit extra for garnish
- 1 tbsp of miso
- 1/2 tsp of dashi stock (in powder form)
- 1/2 sheet of nori seaweed, thinly cut into slices (or about 2-3 tbsps of ready shredded seaweed)
- (optional) for garnish, some togarashi chilli powder (shichimi) or furikake – a type of seasoning that has sesame seeds and dried bonito flakes.
- (optional) for garnish, some lightly toasted sesame seeds.
- In a big pot, heat water until boiling, to cook your pasta. Season the water with the dashi stock as the water has reached boiling point and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet, to your preference.
- While the pasta is boiling, slice the mushrooms into uniform and rather thin slices.
- Heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan.
- Saute the mushrooms until soft. Switch off the heat, and wait until the pasta has cooked.
- Reserve some boiling pasta water, and drain the pasta.
- Add the miso into the pan with the mushrooms, and add the reserved pasta water, a little at a time, mixing thoroughly until you get a thick sauce.
- Add the drained pasta into the pan, and mix to coat the pasta with the sauce. If it is still too dry, adding more of the reserved pasta water will help loosen it.
- Finally, add the nori seaweed, little by little, and tossing to mix.
- Serve, and garnish with a little sprinkle of olive oil at the top. You can also garnish with the sesame seeds or the seasonings I mentioned earlier.