An essential ingredient in the Japanese kitchen, miso paste is made from fermented soy beans and grains, such as rice or barley. It adds its deep umami (savoury) flavour to a range of Japanese recipes, gracing everything from simple bowls of miso soup to salad dressings, seafood and even desserts.
Find out why you should make miso part of your daily ritual, then discover the best type of miso paste to use in your favourite recipes, ranging from mild white miso to richer yellow miso and flavour-packed red miso paste.
Also known as shiro miso, white miso paste is the most delicate of the Japanese miso pastes. It has a pale, yellow colour and is made from fermented soy beans and rice. White miso paste adds a gentle sweetness and nutty complexity to dressings, soups and marinades, and is the most versatile of the miso family. Choose white miso paste for this delicious starter of Japanese wasabi miso eggplant, or this Nobu-inspired recipe for miso-glazed fish.
Sitting in the middle of the miso flavour spectrum, yellow miso paste is light golden brown in colour, and most commonly made from fermented soy beans and barley. Use yellow miso paste when you want more depth of flavour than white miso, but something that’s not as powerful as red miso. Yellow miso paste is ideal for soups, glazes and poultry, such as miso-grilled chicken.
When you want a potent hit of miso flavour, reach for red miso paste. Generally saltier and richer than its paler cousins, red miso paste is fermented for longer, adding a pungency and sweet, nutty depth to dishes such as soups, braises, marinades and glazes. Hailing from the snowy region of Hokkaido, miso ramen is a must-eat in Japan. Thanks to its robust toppings of chashu pork, egg, spring onion, and corn, the miso ramen broth needs to have body and weight, so red miso paste is a great option. Follow this easy recipe for miso ramen at home. Or, whip up a batch of miso-glazed eggplant for a vegetarian meal that will convert even the most committed carnivore.
For a shortcut to authentic Japanese flavour, use instant miso soup sachets in this recipe for miso ramen with salmon and silken tofu.
You can store miso paste, sealed in a container in the fridge, for up to nine months for white and yellow, or a year for red miso. For more miso inspiration, discover these creative recipe ideas using Japanese miso paste.
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