Miso paste is a thick mixture made from fermented cooked soybeans. It is an important ingredient in Japanese cuisine, used in sauces, marinades, soups and more.
I always keep a container of miso in my fridge, because just a spoonful can add a ton of umami-flavour to whatever I'm cooking.
I've found that this salty and tangy paste is delicious on both vegetables (like corn), and meat (steak!).
What is Miso Paste?
Miso is a thick paste made by fermenting cooked soybeans with koji (an edible mold that comes from rice).
It has a consistency similar to peanut butter, and a strong, salty flavour (although low-salt varieties do exist). This Japanese staple ingredient is available in a variety of colours and flavours, ranging from light-coloured and mild, to dark-coloured and pungent.
Where to buy Miso Paste?
Many large grocery stores sell miso paste these days. If your local grocery doesn't carry it, you can try a Japanese market or health food store instead.
I prefer to buy organic miso, which is found in the refrigerated section. The organic versions generally contain less salt, and no alcohols or stabilizers, and I like the flavour of them more than the shelf-stable versions.
How to use Miso Paste?
Miso paste is the key ingredient in miso soup, of course, but you can also add miso to sauces, marinades and dressings, or use it as a seasoning to add flavour to dishes.
It's important to remember not to boil miso, as boiling the paste makes it become grainy in texture. Instead, melt the paste into warm broth before adding it to the soup.
How to store Miso Paste?
While some pastes are shelf stable, organic miso should be kept in the fridge.
To help prevent oxidation, press plastic wrap onto the surface of the paste before putting the lid on. This fermented product will keep in the fridge for quite a while if stored properly.