This recipe started off as a usual stir fry and ended up with the title of a Korean Miso 'Fish Egg' Soup. The story will unfold itself eventually, I hope.
It started out with a 'what to make for dinner' thought. The family was eating out so since I had to cook only for myself, I thought why not put a few vegetables that cook real quick together. But the kitchen had other plans for me.
So I open the fridge pick out half of a Yellow Zucchini, half a pack of Mushrooms, some tofu, a Green Chilli, few florets of Cauliflower and some pieces of Yam. I steamed the cauliflower and yam, cut the rest of the vegetables and proceeded to make my usual stir fry dinner. Oil, green chilli, tofu, yam, cauliflower, soy sauce etc all in, stirring around. Suddenly I remember I have some miso (which I have been treating like it was made out of gold) bought from Auroville. Miso is a fermented soybean paste that adds a lot of flavour to soups, stews and is used in many Japanese recipes. Though it is common in almost all of South East Asian cuisine, Miso Soup is a popular Japanese appetizer. It has a sour-sweet taste and it is usually added to the dish after everything has cooked. (I am not sure where it is available in Mumbai but I will find out and update this post. Also it is totally optional to this recipe.)
So I remember that I can make my stir fry in to a miso soup and while I'm doing that I spot the 'fish eggs'. Of course they are not fish eggs, they don't smell like fish eggs, but they look slimy, gelatinous and look very much like fish eggs. More about that later.
I added water, salt and pepper to the vegetables, covered them so they could cook a bit, took it off the stove and added a teaspoon of miso. Let it all sit for a bit and served myself the soup and added a spoon of the 'fish eggs' on top. This is what it looked like...
So I thought to myself why not search if there is any such thing as a fish egg soup and there actually is a Korean fish egg soup I found online made with tofu, vegetables and fish eggs of course. It looks nothing like what I ate and I'm sure it tasted nothing like it either. My sister saw me clicking pictures of my dinner and with a lot of disgust on her face asked me what the hell I was planning to eat.
Okay, if you know your Indian dessert you probably know what my 'fish eggs' were. They were basil seeds or sabja seeds or sabza seeds, infamous for their addition to Falooda here in India. It is usually soaked till it becomes all gelatinous and then added to the dessert. It is also consumed because it is known to treat digestive problems and also bring down the pitta or heat in your body.
They have no taste, they look like little speckled eggs and have a rubbery texture. Except for the taste, colour and smell, the texture is very much like what people eat as the real fish eggs. They added nothing more than a novelty to my soup, which is what I look for in most of what I eat, even if I have eaten the very same thing gazillion times before.