The word miso means ‘fermented beans’ in Japanese. Miso paste is nearly always made with fermented soya beans, and is a staple of Japanese cooking. Its ultra-savoury, umami flavour gives all sorts of dishes a lovely depth.
Use miso paste in soups, broths, as a glaze or in dressings; or use it in Jamie’s gorgeous Seared sesame tuna recipe from 5 Ingredients – Quick & Easy Food. Miso also goes really well with aubergine, mushrooms or tofu. Miso is also very good for you: it’s a great source of antioxidants, dietary fibre and protein.
It shouldn’t be hard to track down a basic miso paste in most supermarkets, but you may struggle to find more obscure variations without going to a Japanese supermarket or a whole-foods store.
HOW IS IT MADE?
The traditional process of making miso can last from a few weeks to years, and the time invested will affect the end product massively. The longer the fermentation period, the darker and more intensely flavoured the miso, while a short fermentation will yield a sweeter and lighter miso.
Other ingredients such as barley, rice and buckwheat can be added during fermentation to give different flavourings. Brown rice miso gives a gorgeously intense hit of flavour, while sweet white miso is a more mellow ingredient.
HOW DO I USE IT?
There are lots of delicious things you can do with miso.
This is a lovely recipe for a basic homemade miso soup (which tastes a million times better than the instant just-add-water packets), and at the bottom of this page you’ll find a brilliant recipe for a sticky miso glaze that can be used with lots of different veggies and meats.
You could also make a simple miso dressing to complement Asian-inspired salads – just whisk together a tablespoon of miso, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and a teaspoon of black roasted sesame seeds.
Sticky miso glaze recipe
TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes
2 tablespoons runny honey
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons white miso paste
1 tablespoon dark miso paste
1 teaspoon low-salt soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
Measure all the ingredients into a small saucepan, then place over a low heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until sticky and glossy.
Generously brush the glaze over grilled, pan-fried or roasted meat or fish in the last couple of minutes of cooking for a lovely salty, sweet and sticky glaze.
Nutrition: 47 kcals, 0.3g fat (0.1g sat fat), 0.8g protein, 10.7g carbs, 9.2g sugars, 1.1g salt, 0.4g fibre