Cooking with Miso

  in Blog

If you’ve ever had miso soup, you know how comforting and delicious such a simple soup can be. But did you know there are other ways to use miso, and that there are different types of miso? 

What is miso?

Miso, a traditional Japanese ingredient, is a paste that’s a fermented mixture of soybeans, a grain such as rice, salt and koji (the culturing agent.) It can also be made with other types of beans or grains. Miso adds a salty, umami flavor to many dishes. It has roughly the consistency of peanut butter and can either be relatively smooth or chunky.

White or light miso is light in color and lighter and sweeter in flavor due to a shorter fermentation time.

Red or dark miso ranges in color from light brown to nearly black and is fermented for a longer period of time (up to 3 years!), which yields a stronger and saltier flavor. It’s made with a higher proportion of soybeans and salt and has a more intense, funky flavor profile.

You can add miso to salad dressings, sauces, stews, and soups. Any time you want a nice salty, umami flavor punch, try adding a little miso instead of plain salt. You could stir it into oatmeal (or any hot cereal,) smear it on toast, or add it to mashed potatoes. Use as a glaze for fish or meat.

If you want to preserve the good bacteria in miso, add it to your cooked dishes at the end of cooking, if possible. When you make miso soup or add it to any kind of soup, be careful not to boil it. 

How long does miso last?

Here is what South River Miso says on their website:

“South River Miso is technically not a perishable food, and we are not required to put an expiration date on our product. Whether opened or unopened, South River Miso will keep almost indefinitely – even for years. Indeed, we have kept some miso for as long as 20 years without spoilage, even without refrigeration. As with all foods, let your nose be the final judge. Miso will darken with age.”

What kind of miso does Oryana carry?

Missing from image: South River Sweet White Miso

Oryana sells Miso Master and South River Miso. You can find these in the refrigerated cases near the vegan dips. Both brands are available at 10th St. Only Miso Master is available at Oryana West.

Here are a few miso recipes to try:

Butternut Squash with Adzuki Beans
Elliott’s Miso Soup
Miso Sauce
Adzuki Barley Salad
Vegan Pasta Alfredo