German Zosui

What to do when you're craving o-kayu, zosui or congee, and you haven't been to Düsseldorf recently so you are out of short-grain rice & dashi stock, and anyway the supermarket is out of chicken and doesn't have anything resembling mitsuba
(as previously mentioned, there's no watercress or 'Brunnenkresse' at any local shops, but apparently it does after all exist in Germany...'brunnen' means 'well').

Well, the spirit of zosui (the thicker, more stew-like cousin of o-kayu & congee rice soup) is one of improvisation, making do with what you've got. So maybe the gods wouldn't frown on this bastardised German-congee-zosui.

None of the dreaded omnipresent long-grain rice: instead, one of those tiny packs of 'sushi rice' from Kaisers
supermarkt. I found some skinny smoked 'Landjäger' mettwurst to use chopped as a garnish: the northern variety are not soft and spreadable but ready to chew and look aesthetically similar to the chinese sausage you sometimes get on congee, if you're lucky, though of course they taste different...
Erik has already chewed his way through half a packet, with the same gusto as conan o'brien's Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation.

In place of chicken I planned to use deeply-smoked 'räucherenden' sausage (yes, double sausage) so in the end Erik talked me out of having the mettwurst as a garnish. Too much sausage, not enough time!
The räucherenden means literally 'smoked ends'. They were excellent in the zosui... gave it a really nice permeated smokey flavour... and the dense, firm-yet-slightly-crumbly grain of the sausage was great for a stew. Although it would be better to buy sausages straight from a butcher who probably kills his own meat, this supermarket delicatessan brand Hof is very good.

So I did some research into what räucherenden are... turns out they are a member of the ROHWURST family (that is a hard word to say right! flex your breathy glottal 'R'): savoury, coarse sausages that are not of the 'boil or broil' type but rather preserved with salt, smoking, or a finely controlled fermentation process. The grain of the sausage is also carefully controlled. Rohwurst includes cervelat-, katenrauch- oder mettwurst, and plockwurst - though some of those are either salami style sausage or soft & spreadable like the southern mettwurst. Coriander, garlic or nutmeg complement the pepper added; and they are often preserved in a salt bath (cutest word award: Pökelsalz).

The website I read this on said of räucherenden "Not only on the go or as a between-meals snack, snap-fresh räucherenden are great right out of your hand! They're also an ideal addition to casseroles, stews and gratins." Super!!

May I say that the sweet onion, toasted sesame seeds and fresh faintly tangy garden cress were a perfect savoury garnish for the smokey sausage-mushroom-greenbeans-egg-rice consommé.

Here's the recipe.

German Zosui
Based on a recipe by Hiroko Shimbo in "The Japanese Kitchen"

4 cups vege stock (or whatever stock you have to hand)
1 packet räucherenden chopped into bite-size pieces
1 tsp shoyu
2 tbsp mirin
1 tsp salt
2 cups cooked short-grain rice
3 eggs, lightly beaten
100 g mushrooms, roughly chopped
100 g green beans chopped in half-lengths
teaspoon fresh pulverised ginger
3 spring onions, edible parts chopped finely
1 small red onion chopped finely
olive oil
toasted sesame seeds
shichimi seven spice powder or chilli flakes
black pepper
garden cress

Bring the stock to a boil, reduce to medium heat and add the sausage, mushrooms and beans. Reduce heat to low and cook for a few minutes, skimming off any fat that comes to the surface. Season with shoyu, mirin and salt. Increase heat to medium, add rice and bring to a boil, seperating the grains of rice. Cook uncovered for a few minutes. Pour the eggs over fork tines into the pot, evenly over the rice. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for a couple of minutes. Stir fry the spring onions and red onion in a little olive oil until a bit crispy. Add a generous amount of ground black pepper and the pulverised ginger to the rice and a few shakes of shichimi or chilli flakes, and give a few large stirs. Serve the rice consommé garnished with the onions, toasted sesame seeds and snipped cress shoots.

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    Yum, double sausage! That has to be good.


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