Miso Paste: What's It All About?

June 30, 2017

Miso paste What's it all about?

Miso paste isn’t as simple as you think and is isn’t only used to make miso soup. It’s one of the essential ingredients used in Japanese cuisine and it’s now found its way into the western world. It’s made a big name for itself with the top chefs who use it to raise the flavour of their food. It’s used in many ways and people are always experimenting. Using different types of miso paste can slightly shift the flavour of your dishes.



Categorise miso into 4 categories based on ingredients:
1. Kome miso (Rice koji miso) - sweet.

Miso that is made with rice koji, soy beans and salt. Normally white miso belongs to this group. 80% of miso that’s made in Japan is Kome miso.


2. Mugi miso (Barley koji miso) - light.

Miso made with barley koi, soy beans and salt.

3. Mame miso (Bean koji miso) 

This miso is made with soy beans koji and salt, it’s basically just soy beans! Hacchou miso is famous mame miso from Aichi prefecture. 


4. Awase miso (Mixed miso) 

Awase miso is made by mixing two or more miso pastes together that creates an interesting result.



Miso colour and taste

Most miso is named and sold as the colour aka (red) and shiro (white). It's not about the ingredients used that gives miso it’s resulting colour. It happens depending on how long the miso is fermented for and the method used while cooking the soy beans. For white miso, the soy beans are boiled and the beans are steamed when making red miso. Also, the colours of miso changes with the Maillard reaction - (a chemical reaction between amino acids that result in sugars). The longer the miso is allowed to ferment, the darker the colour. White miso is only fermented for less than two weeks while red miso is fermented for at least 12 months and in some cases, is left for up to 3 years.

Tanshoku miso (yellow miso) is usually used in home cooking and is in between red and white miso. Yellow miso is not fermented for long as red miso but is sweeter. However, it is not as sweet as white. Usually, if more koji is added, the resulting miso is sweeter. Not as much koji is added to red miso and is usually saltier than yellow and white.

Experiment with miso paste and try our simple recipe:

-Salmon with miso and mayo-

2 pieces of salmon

2tbs (30ml) of mayonnaise

1tbs (15ml) of miso (Any miso paste, try them all!)

Mix mayonnaise and miso and spread it on salmon.

Put it in the oven for 20min with 200℃.

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