Miso is becoming the key ingredient for the health-conscious cook and adventurous food lover. The fermented soybean paste, traditionally made in Japan, is prized for its rich complex umami flavours and is now a popular powerful flavour-booster in both Japanese and non-Japanese dishes.
Like other fermented foods, there are infinite varieties of miso depending on the ingredients selected, and the length and treatment during fermentation. Miso can range from sweet white custard flavours to warm salted-caramels, through to rich dark bitter chocolate notes. The application in cooking is versatile and vibrant with its sweet-salty tones deepening the flavours of meats while brightening the flavours of vegetables and fish.
Naturally vegan and nutritious, miso boasts strong health credentials; high in protein, antioxidants, vitamins B12 and K and fibre; it is the ultimate ancient Japanese superfood.
- Stir miso into light soups and broths to add instant depth of flavour without having to use cream, butter or stock.
- Add protein-packed light miso to your salad dressings to create a thicker consistency and umami hit.
- Marinade red meats and root vegetables with darker miso (such as hatchomiso or barley miso) or use a lighter miso on poultry, fish and spring vegetables. The miso really adds a depth of flavour.
- Swap our your usual houmousdip with an equally nutritious but even tastier miso dip made by mixing white miso paste with olive oil, crushed toasted pine nuts and a squeeze of lemon.
- Sweet caramel-based desserts are instantly enhanced with a small amount of white rice miso. The deep umami flavoursbring out the tangy sweetness of the caramel, creating a much more balanced dessert. Perfect for those who love the flavour of sea-salt caramel.
Words Bonnie Chung founder of Miso Tasty.