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Are you curious to find out everything you need to know about how to cook with miso paste, this magical ingredient? This article is your answer! You also get 10 inspiring recipes with miso paste!
Have you heard of miso before? No, not miso soup, but miso paste! If not, I can’t even begin to explain how exciting this ingredient can be – and I’m sure you’ll think the same!
If you’re up for some experimenting today, get ready to have your mind blown by this amazing Japanese ingredient that is miso paste. Let’s get started:
What is miso paste?
Miso paste is, in short, a fermented paste. It’s basically fermented soybean with salt and koji (a type of mold/fungus). Koji is naturally found in Japan, which is why you shouldn’t be surprised that both sake and soy sauce are also made with this type of fungus. Thanks, koji, for so many great things!
Miso paste is salty and full of umami flavor. It’s traditional to the Japanese cuisine, but nowadays you can use it in COUNTLESS other recipes, Asian-inspired or not. You’ll see exactly what I mean down below!
TIP: In case you made a Japanese recipe a while ago and it involved a small amount of miso paste, chances are you still have the rest in your fridge. The good news is that, if refrigerated, this type of fermented paste can last around one year without changing its consistency or quality. Good news!
Types of miso paste
Miso paste comes in various colors – white miso is milder and sweeter, while red miso (more like dark brown) has a more intense flavor. It all depends on the amount of time each of them has been left to ferment.
These types of miso are, of course, interchangeable, as they’re made from the same ingredients. Just make sure that, if you’re not using the same type of miso that the recipe states for, you’re adjusting everything to taste. If you have to use white miso, use a smaller quantity of dark miso and the other way around.
Is miso good for our health?
Yes! As I mentioned before, miso is a fermented food, which means it’s rich in good bacteria and probiotics, which come with lots of benefits for our gut health. It’s also rich in minerals and lots of B vitamins as well as K and E. Plus folic acid!
By the way, I recently started using miso paste instead of salt in some dishes in order to add both flavor AND lots of probiotics. It’s a win-win situation if you ask me, and the taste is SO good!
How do you dissolve miso paste?
The most common dish you can make with miso paste is, of course, miso soup. But if you’re thinking that you can just throw your miso paste into boiling water, you’re wrong. Okay, you can do it, but this means you’ll kill all the amazing probiotics found in miso and you’ll only be left with the taste and none of the health benefits.
How to do it, though? The idea is to use a warm liquid instead. Take off your soup from the heat and wait for some minutes. Then you can whisk your miso paste into the liquid and adjust the quantity to taste.
Another thing to note is that, if you’re using miso into a salad dressing, for example, you’ll quickly realize that it won’t blend nicely with oil. The key here is to use a blender for a smooth result.
How to cook with miso paste
Now that you know all this practical info about how miso is made and how to properly dissolve it, let’s find out some popular ways of cooking with it:
- miso soup and ramen – okay, I’m not telling you about the classic, basic miso soup again (that most of Japanese people eat each. and. every. day). But did you know that miso paste is also used in ramen? Yep, it adds a lot of qualities to that delicious taste!
- regular soups and stews – told you that a recipe doesn’t need to be Asian in order to benefit from a little bit of miso paste! You can add it to your regular vegan or vegetarian soup or stew as well to compensate for the lack of meat a.k.a. to bring extra flavor!
- miso butter – an aromatic butter made with miso paste? Yes, sir! Make sure you add a squeeze of lime juice too for extra taste. Or maybe some cilantro too? The sky is the limit!
- salad dressings – you may need a blender for this one if you want a smooth dressing, but the taste is SO worth it!
- marinades and glazes – works wonderfully in tons of combos and with tons of different types of protein. On sweet potatoes too! You just need to make sure that you use a liquid in your marinade or glaze that will dilute the paste: a sauce, some vinegar or some water, for example.
- stir-fry sauces – add a bit a miso paste to your favorite stir-fry sauce: maybe soy sauce + miso + garlic + vinegar + brown sugar? Sounds delicious!
- noodle or pasta sauce – yep, how could I omit this? Miso is an excellent umami booster for any type of sauce, especially for soba noodles (if you ask me)!
Are you ready to put all this information to practice? If it’s your first time using miso paste in a recipe, get ready to be shocked by the amount of amazing taste that a little bit of paste hides inside it. I promise you’ll wonder why you’re only discovering this unique ingredient just now!
I invite you to take a peek at the list of my 10 favorite recipes with miso paste below. Of course, you’ll find a classic miso soup there, but also some miso hummus, roasted sweet potatoes, and lots more. I’m sure you’ll find something to love down below, so all that’s left is for me to wish you happy cooking! 🙂