Miso (which originates from Japan) is a salty and flavorful thick paste that is high in umami and made from fermented soybeans, rice, or barley fermented with salt and koji (mold made with rice, used as a fermentation starter).
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There are many types of miso and they all range in color and flavor depending on what type of grains it uses. The 3 most common types of miso that can be found most easily are white (shiro), yellow (shinshu) and red (aka).
How Do You Use It?
The general rule with miso is the lighter the miso the milder and sweeter the flavor. So if you are not 100% sure if you will like miso, start with the light ones first and work your way up.
The lighter misos are great for sauces, dips, marinades, soups. As you go into the darker ones they will be saltier and more flavorful, so these are great for heavier braised recipes and marinades. I personally love the strong flavor and do use it in soups and sauces as well, but this will be a completely personal preference.
Where Can I Buy Miso?
Miso is getting more and more popular and can usually be found at local grocery stores now in the International aisles. If you cannot find it at your local grocery store, you can almost always find it at an Asian grocery store or online.
How to Substitute Miso
There is no true substitution for miso, but whenever I need to substitute miso, I like to use soy sauce. It gives the same amount of saltiness as well as the umami-ness but it will lose a bit of that miso fermentation flavor. The texture of miso is completely different than soy sauce, so there is no true 100% substitution for it, so I highly recommend buying a small container to keep around the kitchen since it lasts a very long time in the fridge and it is a very versatile ingredient.
In cases where miso is the main flavor in a recipe, like in soups/butters/sauces, I would not use soy sauce as a substitute because they do have different flavors and for those types of recipes, you want to retain the miso fermented flavor.
How to Store Miso
Once opened, miso should be stored in the fridge. Make sure it is well sealed so it doesn't dry out. Most packaging will have an expiry date on it, the darker the miso the longer it will last - partially because darker ones have a higher salt content.
Recipes That Use Miso
- Miso Garlic Chili Oil
- Miso Eggplant (Nasu Dengaku) with Black Garlic
- Honey Miso Garlic Roasted Potatoes
- Miso Red Wine Braised Lamb Shank Recipe
- Easy Miso Pumpkin Soup
- Pan Fried Lamb Chops with Miso Butter
- 40 Best Congee Toppings Ideas
- Easy Corn Egg Drop Soup
- Spicy Black Garlic Miso Israeli Couscous
- Roasted Miso Cauliflower Mushroom Soup
- Chinese Turnip Cake (Lo Bak Go, 萝白糕)
- Easy Udon Noodle Soup with Miso
- Savory Oatmeal with Miso, Cheese, and Egg
- Roasted Garlic Blue Cheese Pasta Salad
- Creamy Roasted Mushroom Garlic Soup
- Buttery Scallion Pancakes
- Homemade Furikake Seasoning
- Umami Beef & Pork Burgers
- Miso Butter
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