Miso Magic

3 July, 2020

Do you know what your miso is made from?

You’re no doubt familiar with that bowl of miso soup alongside your sushi. But do you know how it’s made? And how it can be used beyond soup? Miso is a fermented bi product of soybeans, usually packaged and sold as a paste that has been mixed with other grains or beans. First made and eaten in China, miso has become a staple of Japanese cuisine, adding a salty and umami depth of flavour to a range of dishes. Because miso is fermented it is known to be beneficial for our gut health, which in turn leads to good mental and physical health.

There are four types of miso:

  • Shiro: White miso is mixed with rice to make a paste and is light in colour, sweet and a little salty. It’s not fermented for as long as some other types of miso which keeps the flavour light. It’s excellent as a marinade for chicken or as a glaze for fish.
  • Mugi miso: similar to white miso, mugi is made from soybeans and barley but it is fermented for longer. The taste is mild and a little sweeter than white miso and is delicious in a vegetarian ramen.
  • Shinsu: Yellow miso is soybeans mixed with barley which gives the yellow colour. Shinsu is mild in flavour and a delicious base for miso soup.
  • Aka: Red or dark brown miso is salty and intense in flavour. It’s perfect for stews, marinating meats and seasoning asparagus and eggplant dishes.

How to make delicious meals with miso

Nearly every Japanese meal is accompanied by a delicious bowl of miso soup. Usually served as a light broth, miso soup is nutritious and contains vitamins B, E and K and other antioxidants. Use a white miso paste to make nasu dengaku, miso glazed eggplant or try this pork and eggplant stir fry. Miso pairs well with all types of meat but you can’t go past this crispy garlic miso-glazed salmon or a miso chicken teriyaki. For vegetarians, a ramen with bokchoi and egg or a mushroom and broccolini curry will satisfy your tastebuds.

Miso is so versatile that you can even use it as a spread on toast with avocado and tahini (Vegemite, eat your heart out) or in sweet treats like chocolate chip cookie bars . Many western style dishes can benefit from a dash of miso, for example, an American cheeseburger or a vegetarian burger as an alternative for non-meat eaters.

Where to find miso based dishes in Chatswood

For Japanese food at Chatswood Interchange, you are spoilt for choice. Try Akira Sushi and Makoto Bento for fresh sushi and miso soups and don’t miss the steaming bowls of ramen at Ippudo.

Of course you can purchase a variety of miso pastes at Woolworths Metro at Chatswood Interchange or stop in at Asian City to talk miso with the experts. Joymart has a range of miso paste in their fridge section, as well a a range of other unique delights. Once you’ve opened your miso, it should keep for 9-12 months in the fridge – be sure to keep it in a tightly sealed container.