A Local Flavor of Gifu Magnolia Leaf Miso Pork Bento
This is a regional specialty of Gifu prefecture - pan fried pork with ho-ba miso (magnolia leaf miso). The fragrance of the magnolia leaf and the nutty aroma of browned miso is delicious in this bento.
Combine the ◎ ingredients for the green onion miso. If you prefer it sweeter, add a little more honey.
Cut the pork into bite sized pieces and coat lightly with katakuriko.
Blanch the pork quickly in boiling water, and drain well.
Lay a magnolia leaf on a pan, top with the miso from step 1 and turn on the heat (if possible, use dried magnolia leaves; this time I used a fresh one).
Start by cooking the shimeji mushrooms. When the mushrooms are halfway cooked, add the pork.
Stir the meat, mushrooms, and miso on top of the leaf until they are cooked through.
When packing this into a bento box, if you use a fresh new magnolia leaf as a divider, it has anti-microbial qualities and smells nice too.
Put sushi rice on top of a fresh magnolia leaf to make a simple version of ho-ba sushi. Again, the anti-microbial properties of the leaf make this great for bentos.
This is the ho-ba or magnolia leaf used in Gifu's regional cuisine. The leaves are big and has anti-microbial properties, and is used in dishes such as ho-ba sushi and ho-ba miso.
Story Behind this Recipe
I wanted to make a regional themed bento, so I used a magnolia leaf from our garden to make ho-ba miso and coated pork with it. I packed this in my husband's bento. When he got home, he raved, "when I opened the box I was so surprised! It was so delicious!" This is a flavor that's well known in our area, and my husband was very happy.
I dusted the pork with katakuriko and blanched it quickly so the miso would coat it easily as well as cook through quickly, which is practical for bentos. Use whatever mushrooms you like. Mushrooms makes this dish really delicious.