Some years ago, I had a good friend who cooked Macrobiotic Food. It was always surprisingly delicious. Surprising only because it was so simple and without any fuss. Just good ingredients, cooked tenderly.
This is my version of one of those meals. I regard macrobiotic food as kind and undemanding. It’s calming, restorative, gentle on the digestive system and very good to eat.
I thought it might be of general interest to include some macrobiotic recipes in this blog.
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the philosophy of Macrobiotic food:
“Followers of the traditional macrobiotic approach believe that food and food quality powerfully affect health, well-being, and happiness, and that a traditional, locally based macrobiotic diet has more beneficial effects than others. The modern macrobiotic approach suggests choosing food that is less processed.
One goal of modern macrobiotics is to become sensitive to the actual effects of foods on health and well-being, rather than to follow dietary rules and regulations. Dietary guidelines, however, help in developing sensitivity and an intuitive sense for what sustains health and well-being.
Japanese macrobiotics emphasizes locally grown whole grain cereals, pulses (legumes), vegetables, seaweed, fermented soy products and fruit, combined into meals according to the ancient Chinese principle of balance known as yin and yang. Whole grains and whole-grain products such as brown rice and buckwheat pasta (soba), a variety of cooked and raw vegetables, beans and bean products, mild natural seasonings, fish, nuts and seeds, mild (non-stimulating) beverages such as bancha twig tea and fruit are recommended.
Some Japanese macrobiotic theorists, including George Ohsawa, stress the fact that yin and yang are relative qualities that can only be determined in a comparison. All food is considered to have both properties, with one dominating. Foods with yang qualities are considered compact, dense, heavy, hot, whereas those with yin qualities are considered expansive, light, cold, and diffuse. However, these terms are relative; “yangness” or “yinness” is only discussed in relation to other foods.
Brown rice and other whole grains such as barley, millet, oats, quinoa, spelt, rye, and teff are considered by macrobiotics to be the foods in which yin and yang are closest to being in balance. Therefore, lists of macrobiotic foods that determine a food as yin or yang generally compare them to whole grains.
Nightshade vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplant; also spinach, beets and avocados are not recommended or are used sparingly in macrobiotic cooking, as they are considered extremely yin. Some macrobiotic practitioners also discourage the use of nightshades because of the alkaloid solanine, thought to affect calcium balance. Some proponents of a macrobiotic diet believe that nightshade vegetables can cause inflammation in the body and osteoporosis.”
TOFU AND CARROTS BAKED IN A MISO AND TAHINI SAUCE
WITH MILLET AND STEAMED BROCCOLI, AND TOASTED GROUND PUMKIN AND SESAME SEEDS
- 200gms. firm tofu
- 300gms. carrots
- 3 tbs. dark hearty miso
- 3 tbs. tamari
- 5 tbs, tahini1 tbs rice wine vinegar
- 500ml. warm water ( preferably filtered)
- 30gms. pumpkin seeds
- 30gms. sesame seeds
- 225gms. millet
- 500ml. cold water
- 250gms. broccoli
- Slice the tofu into slices about 5 ml. thick.
- Peel wash and cut the carrots into batons about 5-8 ml. thick
- Wash and cut the broccoli into small florets, removing tough stalks.
- Combine: 3 good tbs. miso, 3 tbs. tamari, 5 tbs. tahini, 1 tbs. rice wine vinegar and 500ml. warm water.
- Stir to form a smooth sauce.
- Lay the tofu and carrots in a ceramic dish approx. 28cm x 28cm.
- Pour the miso/tahini sauce carefully over the tofu and vegetables.
- Cover tightly with silver foil.
- Place in a pre-heated oven Gas Mk. 4-5/180/ 190C for 45-60mins. Until the carrots are tender. (If your oven is fierce, reduce the heat a little after 30 mins.)
- The sauce will thicken considerably.
When the tofu has been baking for 15 mins:
- Wash millet.
- Take a deep sided saucepan on a medium heat.
- Add the washed millet and roast until the millet is dry, begins to pop, and has a nutty fragrance. 4-5 mins. Stir constantly to avoid burning.
- Then pour 500ml. cold water over the millet.
- Bring to the boil.
- Reduce heat to lowest setting (use a heat diffuser if necessary) , cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer for 30 mins.
- After 30 mins. remove millet from heat, and leave covered for 8 mins. until ready to serve.
- In a wide skillet on a med-high heat, dry-roast pumpkin and sesame seeds 2-3 mins. until golden and fragrant.
- Allow to cool and then grind coarsely.
- Steam broccoli florets 3-4 mins.
Serve up, garnishing with toasted seeds.