Miso chicken salad

Do you ever get stuck in a cooking rut? Using the same recipes, same cooking methods?

For a long time, grilling was my cooking method of choice when it came to chicken. Or possibly even oven baking. But then I discovered poaching, and boy has it been a game changer. The meat is tender, there are no messy grills to clean, and there is usually enough leftover for sandwiches through the week.

It is also a great option to add to salads.

Sometimes I poach the chicken in stock, other times water – with a bunch of herbs, ginger and garlic.

On this occasion, I poached the chicken in stock with a little miso paste. I then shredded the chicken and used it to create a Japanese-inspired miso chicken salad. With wombok, cucumber and radish for crunch, drizzled with a miso / mirin / soy dressing, and finished with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

We served this for dinner a little while back, and I’ve also had it for lunch on multiple occasions since then. I love that it can be thrown together easily, with minimal fuss, and that it is a little different than my regular salad styles.

Definitely a winner in my book…and a great reminder to get out of my comfort zone in the kitchen!

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Miso Chicken Salad
Course Salad
Keyword salad
Course Salad
Keyword salad
  1. Place stock and miso paste in a small saucepan. Add the chicken (adding some additional water if necessary to cover). Bring to the boil over a medium heat, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, then cover and set aside in the poaching liquid. Allow to cool a little, then shred.
  2. Meanwhile, divide the salad ingredients amont two serving bowls. Top with shredded chicken.
  3. To make the dressing, whisk together the miso, mirin, soy and sesame in a small bowl. Drizzle over salad, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
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Miso Pumpkin Soup

It’s minus 4 outside as I type this post, with an expected top of 10 (which we will reach after midday, if we are lucky).  There is a heavy layer of frost on the grass, and ice on the cars in the street, although the sky is clear and there is no fog to be seen.

If I’m to be honest, the chilly winter is not all that surprising, really. We had a pretty awesome summer… and it always seems that the hotter the summer =  the colder the winter. In Canberra, at least.

So while I am 100% a summer girl, after 18 years in Canberra (???) I am slowly becoming acclimatised to the joys of the Canberra winter.  I’ve got a decent collection of beanies and gloves, along with some great warm jackets, and have even mastered the art of layering. Our hydronic in-slab heating goes a long way in helping me forget just how cold it is outside too.

But then there is the food. Winter inevitably means that my slow cooker comes out at least a few times a week, bringing with it hearty stews and casseroles. Homemade soups also make a frequent appearance – the aim being to warm oneself up from the inside out.

On this particular occasion I went with a pumpkin soup. But not just any pumpkin soup. This one was jazzed up with miso paste and ginger (inspired by a recipe I found in a recent Taste magazine edition). It also had a lovely creamy texture owing to the addition of coconut milk, and a little zing from fresh lime juice. 

We served the soup with some loaded toasties. From recollection – there was avocado and tomato on one, and a swiss cheese, mustard and ham combination on the other.

But the soup.

Oh the soup.

Delicious, easy, and definitely a winter warmer!! With the added bonus that we now have a few serves in the freezer too.

Miso Pumpkin Soup (serves 4 – 6)

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2tbs minced ginger
  • 1tbs  minced garlic
  • 1 butternut pumpkin, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 120g white miso paste
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 3 cups vegetable stock or water
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper
  • coriander leaves to serve
  1. Heat a little olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic  and ginger and cook for a minute – stirring.
  2. Add the pumpkin, tomatoes and miso paste – stirring to coat well.
  3. Add the coconut milk / stock, and simmer – covered – for 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft. Blend until smooth.
  4. Add the lime juice and zest, and season to taste.
  5. Serve in bowls, and top with coriander.

Honey miso chicken meatballs


Meatballs are one of those dishes that I really enjoy, but rarely make.  This is, until, a recipe captures my eye, or a particular craving strikes.

Both happened recently, when I saw a recipe for honey miso meatballs in Taste magazine . I knew I had half a container of miso paste in the fridge, and the flavour combination really appealed to me, so needless to say the dish was added to our weekly meal plan without hesitation.

img_8399 I relied on this recipe, but made a few changes along the way. I used chicken mince in place of turkey mince, and added  baby spinach leaves for some extra green.  I had a bag of frozen edamame in the freezer so there was no problem there (although I can never seem to stop myself from snacking on edamame before it is added to a meal…yum!)

The result? Delish!

I really enjoyed the new spin on an old favourite, and was left wondering why I had not gone with an ‘Asian’ style meatball before. The miso shone through, and I loved the sticky honey and ginger glaze.


Even the kids jumped on board, and were more than happy to gobble up the leftovers the next day.

Well the meatballs and noodles, at least. The greens….yeah not so much.


Spring vegetable miso risotto

IMG_4585 Ever have one of those ‘why didn’t I think of that’ moments when you read a recipe? I sure did when I came across a recipe for a spring vegetable miso risotto in a recent edition of the Taste magazine. It substituted miso paste + water for stock, and sake for white wine, transforming the usually Italian-influenced dish into one with a  Japanese feel. IMG_2022 And, well I am rather partial to Japanese food, and even had a bottle of Japanese wine in the cupboard from the last time we visited! IMG_4588 Perfect! Needless to say, I wasted no time in adding the dish to our weekly meal plan, and no time in sharing the photos with you. For it truly was scrumptious, and thoroughly enjoyed by all in our household. IMG_4581 The other ingredients were rather Spring-like, with the addition of asparagus, corn and snowpeas.  I forgot to sprinkle the top with sesame seeds, although that would have been a great addition too. IMG_4582 I was so pleased with the flavour of this risotto, that I have already decided that I will be making it next time my vegetarian friend is in town! IMG_2170 Spring vegetable miso risotto (taken from Taste magazine, with some substitutions / alterations). Serves 2 adults + 2 kids.

  • 1L hot water
  • 1/4 cup white miso paste
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1tbs rice wine
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 270g aborio rice
  • 1/4 cup Japanese wine (or sake)
  • 1 corncob – kernels removed
  • 1 bunch asparagus, sliced
  • 200g snow peas, sliced thinly
  • toasted sesame seeds and parmesan cheese to serve
  1. Combine water, miso paste, mirin and rice wine in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large frypan, heat the oils, garlic and ginger – stirring. Add the rice, stirring to coat.
  3. Add the wine, and allow to evaporate.
  4. Add the miso mixture, one ladle at a time, stirring well until the liquid is absorbed. Continue until all the miso mixture has been incorporated and the rice is almost cooked (this took me about 15-20 minutes).
  5. Add the corn, asparagus and peas, and allow to heat through.
  6. Divide among serving bowls, and sprinkle with sesame seeds and cheese.

What about you? Have you ever been to Japan?