Miso is one of the essential fermented condiments used in Japanese cooking. I have 15 delicious miso recipes that go way beyond miso soup on Chopstick Chronicles and I share more miso recipes in the book “Secret to Japanese cooking”. We are giving away the book to USA/Canada residents.
What is Miso?
Miso (pronounced me-so) is one of the staple condiments in a Japanese pantry. It is made from cooked soybeans, salt, water and grain (usually rice or barley) inoculated with Aspergillus oryzae, called “Koji” in Japanese. The fermentation process takes about three months minimum, and usually six to twelve months to mature.
Noteworthy Miso health benefits
Why is Miso is regarded as a superfood? Because of the long natural fermentation process not just creating a panorama of delicious new flavours and aromas, but it also transforms virtually all of their complex protein, carbohydrate, oil and fat molecules into readily digestible amino acids, simple sugars, and fatty acids. Reference: The Book of Miso: Savory Fermented Soy Seasoning
- rich in high quality protein
- good for your gut health
- good source of essential vitamin B-12 for a plant-based diet
- promotes long life and good health
Cooking with Miso: Unlimited Versatility
Each of the many miso varieties has its own unique flavour, aroma, colour, and texture. They go well beyond just making miso soup. For example, even just red miso would invite endless possibilities of usage such as miso-glazed salmon, miso butter onigiri rice balls. I hope that the post “15 miso recipes” on Chopstick Chronicles and the book give you some ideas for your own miso recipes. Reference: The Book of Miso: Savory Fermented Soy Seasoning
Varieties of Miso
Miso is classified by its colour, ingredients or taste. By its colour: there are red miso (aka miso), white miso (shiro miso) and mixed miso (awase miso). Ingredients: miso classified as rice (kome miso), berley (mugi miso) or beans (mame miso). By its taste: sweet miso (amakuchi) and dry (karakuchi).
White Miso recipes (Shiro miso)
White miso is lighter in colour and sweeter than red. This is because the white miso is made with a higher percentage of koji and shorter fermentation periods. It is suited to making dressings, sauces and sweets due to its sweet flavour and light colour.
- Mizuna salad with miso dressing
- Miso glazed eggplant “Nasu Dengaku”
- Miso butter grilled rice balls “Yaki Onigiri”
- Miso Caramel
- Ozoni kansai region mochi miso soup
Red Miso recipes (Aka miso)
On the other hand, Red miso is bolder in flavour and darker in colour due to less koji being used and longer fermentation period. Therefore it works best for glazed meat and fish, marinade.
- Saba misoni
- Miso egg
- Miso soup basics
- Instant Miso soup bombs
- Miso Katsudon
- Miso soup with spinach and egg
- Inari sushi (secret flavour “Kakushi aji)
- Miso glazed salmon
Homemade Miso recipe
Because Miso is rich in flavour, high in plant-based protein and is Umami packed, it is available from supermarkets, health stores and Japanese/Asian grocery stores. Although it is readily available, if you can not access Miso, you may need to make one from scratch as I do. I choose to make my own so that I know my miso is made from organic ingredients and has no msg.
It is quite easy and fun to make and even though it takes at least 3 months to mature, it is totally worth your effort. So check out easy homemade miso paste recipe
The secret to Japanese cooking book giveaway! (USA/Canada only)
In May this year, I along with my daughter were given an opportunity to write a book containing about 75 Japanese home cooking recipes using fermented condiments, such as miso. The book is called “The Secrets to Japanese Cooking: Use the Power of Fermented Ingredients to Create Authentic Flavors at Home“. We are giving away this book to 5 lucky winners.
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