Miso in our A-Z - Cooking Index
Miso is a fermented paste that is widely used in Japanese cooking and is becoming increasingly popular in the rest of the world.
Miso is usually made from fermented rice, barley or soy beans and is generally sold as a thick paste. Typically it is salty although the predominate flavor can be sweet, fruity or earthy, depending on the fermentation process. The fermentation process can last from as short as five days to as long as several years.
The production process involves combining rice, barley or soy beans (or other fermentable products including soybeans, millet, rye, chickpeas and corn) with salt and the kōjikin mould (a type of fungus also used in brewing).
The most commonly Miso worldwide is Shiromiso (white miso) and Akamiso (red miso) while in Japan Kuromiso (black miso) and Hatchomiso (brown miso) is popular).
In the west Miso is best known in Miso Soup, which is made by mixing miso paste with dashi stock. In Japanese homes rice is usually accompanied with miso soup and it is also widely used as a glaze on foods (eg in shiro mizo which is sweet corn/corn on the cob with miso). It is also used to make a sweet pickle called misozuke which is made using miso and cucumber, daikon or aubergine.
Miso is high in protein and rich in vitamins and is extremely useful for a maintaining a mixed diet.