Made from soybeans, rice, and salt, Miso is a fermented paste. It is brown in color and tastes pleasantly salty and tangy on its own. While the most common use of Miso is in Miso soup, Miso also adds a unique burst of flavor to salad dressings, sauces and marinades, baked tofu, vegetable dishes, and even dessert sorbets.
Miso has been used in Japan for hundreds years
Often called "soybean paste" by Westerners, Miso has played a vital role in the culinary life of Japan for hundreds of years. More and more, however, the salty taste and buttery texture of Miso is becoming popular in the West, as a favorite ingredient in a range of recipes.
Process of making miso
Miso is manufactured by mixing soybeans, rice koji (for details, see "what is koji?") and salt, and allowing them to ferment. The aging time, ranging from weeks to month, depends upon the specific type of Miso being produced. Once this process is complete, the aged miso is ground into a paste similar in texture to that of butter.
Types of miso
The color, texture, and degree of saltiness of a particular Miso depends upon the ingredients used, and the duration of the aging period. Miso ranges in color from white to brown. The lighter varieties are mellower in flavor, while the darker ones are richer in flavor.