One of the most famous Japanese ingredients is Miso. In foreign counties, if you go to an Asian market, mostly Miso is offered. Miso soup is the most famous dish to make, but there are a lot of recipes that use it. It is also a fermented food that has excellent benefits to your digestion and health. So you should be using it in everything!
What is Miso?
Miso is a traditional Japanese ingredient made from fermented soybeans, salt, and Koji (the fungus Aspergillus oryzae). Miso has been eaten in Japan for more than 1200 years. When Miso was born, it was luxury food, and only high-class people could afford it. It was about 300 years after that Miso became something reachable for all people.
Now Miso is an ingredient all Japanese keep at their home and is essential.
How is Miso made?
Start with soaking soybeans for a day. Boil them. After they are cooked, soybeans are mashed or blended. Then they will be mixed with Koji and salt then stuffed into a bottle.
When I say stuffed, I mean stuffed. It is imperative to take the air out and cover with a cloth. A substantial paperweight should be placed on top to keep out the air while it “rests” for 10 to 12 months. After a long waiting time, Miso is finally done.
The different kinds of Miso
Three types of miso and the best uses for each:
Red Miso is made with a long fermentation process, so it has a richer taste. Another feature of Red Miso is that has more salt. In the Tohoku area in Japan, Red Miso is made with rice; on the other hand, Chukyo area makes it with primarily soybeans.
Red Miso has a stronger taste, so it is often used for Miso soup or Udon noddle broth. Also, it can be used for marinades on meat and poultry.
White Miso is made with a shorter fermentation process, and this is the reason it has a lighter color and is called White Miso. White Miso is milder and less salty compared with Red Miso. White Miso is often used for dressings and marinades for fish as well as Miso soup.
"Awase" means "mix," and Awase Miso is a mix of both white and red miso. Thus, Awase Miso is omnipotent and goes well with any dish.
Miso is a prevalent ingredient in Japan and can be used for various dishes. In other countries, you can easily find cuisine which made from Miso, for example, Miso soup, Miso ramen, Miso dressing. You can not miss it in Japanese cuisine and I am sure you will love it.