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Ingredient

Miso

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What is it?

This fermented soybean paste is as staple of Japanese cuisine. Miso is made by steaming and crushing soybeans, then adding sea salt and koji, a culture made from grains like rice and barley that triggers fermentation.

Variables like the type of koji, the ratio of soybeans to koji, salt content, and length of fermentation lead to innumerable varieties of miso ranging in color from pale golden yellow to rich chocolate brown. Generally, the lighter the miso, the sweeter and more delicate its flavor.

How to choose:

Look for miso in plastic tubs or bags in the refrigerated section of Asian markets or health-food stores.

How to prep:

Always add miso toward the end of cooking and never boil it, as high heat will destroy both its flavor and nutrients. For the smoothest sauces and soups, whisk miso into an equal amount of slightly warm broth until smooth, and then gradually stir the thinned miso back into the pot.

How to store:

Miso keeps for up to a year if sealed well and refrigerated.

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    Recipes

  • Recipe

    Green Beans with Miso and Sesame Seeds

    Savory miso butter adds quick umami flavor to simple roasted green beans. Serve Steamed Sea Bass, topped with sesame seeds if you like, or serve with roast chicken or seared steak.

  • Recipe

    Miso-Marinated Grilled Vegetables

    The savory flavor of miso works wonders in marinades, giving everything it touches depth of flavor.

  • Recipe

    Steamed Salmon with Fennel and Citrus

    Aromatic fennel and tart citrus highlight the sweetness of salmon while providing a counterpoint to its rich texture. If you can’t find blood oranges, add another medium orange to the…

  • Recipe

    Sake-Steamed Mussels

    For a change from white wine-steamed mussels, make sake the base of an Asian-inspired broth. Serve with crusty or toasted bread to mop up the sauce.

  • Recipe

    Miso-Glazed Eggplant

    The popular technique of broiling fish brushed with a savory-sweet miso glaze is applied here to eggplant for a flavorful side dish. Serve it with pan-seared cod or grilled salmon.

  • Recipe

    Preserved Lemon Tahini Sauce

    Mild sesame tahini sauce gets a kick of savory flavor from white miso and some briny, pickled notes from preserved lemons. Use as a dip for falafel, or spread on…

  • Moveable Feast

    Tempura Fried Opah with Pineapple & Thai Basil Salsa

    If you can’t find opah, you can substitute cod loin or haddock fillet. Furikake is a Japanese dried seasoning that typically consists of dried fish and seaweed, sesame seeds, sugar,…

  • Recipe

    Caramelized Miso Sauce

    Tony Messina of Boston’s Uni recommends caramelizing miso and using it to make a salty, toasty, yet sweet sauce. Use it as a topping for ice cream or French toast,…

  • Recipe

    Miso Mayonnaise

    Good thing this mayonnaise is foolproof; it’s so savory and luscious that you’ll be making it all the time.

  • Recipe

    Spicy Miso-Broiled Shrimp

    Miso, ginger, and cayenne combine to give this shrimp dish a bright, savory flavor with a punch of heat. Keep it quick and serve it with some sautéed watercress and…

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