Miso paste is a popular ingredient from Japan that is now used in cooking throughout the world. The simplest explanation of miso is a fermented soy bean paste. It is used to make soup, to marinate fish, and you can even use it in sweet desserts.
Miso comes in many colors, from almost golden white to deep reddish brown. Each color of miso has a different flavor and is used in different ways. Let’s examine how miso is made and some of the varieties of ways we can use miso in our everyday cooking.
Miso starts out as simple soy beans. Soy beans are grown all over the world. Are there soy bean farms in your country too?
Once the beans have been harvested, they are washed thoroughly and prepared the fermentation process. First, the beans are boiled. In large manufacturers, the beans are boiled in large batches. Once they are boiled, they are milled. Milling the beans breaks them down into small pieces. At this stage in the process, the manufacturer decides what level of smoothness the miso will have once it is fermented.
The bean paste is mixed with salt and traditionally stored in large wooden barrels. The barrels have history and introduce healthy bacteria to the bean paste causing it to ferment. The fermentation process can take a long time and cannot be rushed. The resulting product is not only delicious, but good for your health too!
It can be used to make a simple miso soup, which we have explained in this article.
Or it can be used to make much more complex dishes like pickles which have been preserved in miso paste, or fish that has been marinated in miso like gindara.
What is your favorite way to enjoy miso?