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miso.jpg (21682 bytes)

Miso is a rich, salty condiment that characterizes the essence of Japanese cooking.

Miso is a mainstay of Japanese cuisine and the Japanese consider it a gift from God. As in many parts of Asia the Japanese begin their day with a fortifying bowl of soup  mainly miso soup.  Throughout the day eals are also flavored with miso

Miso to Japan is what cheese is to France.  Miso making is an art and science.  Miso is made by combining cooked soybeans with a grain such as rice or barley, salt and a starter mold culture.  This mold culture is called Koji and it starts the fermenting process. Miso is then aged in cedar vats for one to three years.

The addition of different ingredients and variations in length of aging produce different types of miso that vary greatly in flavor, texture, color and aroma. Miso mainly comes in 3 varieties - darker or red, yellow and white. Miso is also seasonal and the darker, saltier miso is best for autumn and winter cooking. Its hearty quality combines nicely with beans, gravies, baked dishes, and vegetable stews and soups. Try dark miso in thick soups using root vegetables such as burdock, carrots, and daikon radish. A combination of mellow white miso and rice vinegar creates a delicious, refreshing tartness. In summer mellow barley miso is excellent.

Miso is almost always dissolved in water before it is added to dishes.
1. Soup stock (staple breakfast of Japan is miso soup) - Miso paste (2 tbsp. for a large soup bowl serving) can be stirred into simmering broth (or dashi- fish broth) of cubes of tofu, cabbage, and shiitake mushrooms, that has been cooked until the mushrooms are soft. Sprinkle some chopped scallions over the soup as a garnish.
2. Salad dressings -
3. Marinades
3. Dips
4. Sauces
May also be used as a salt to flavor foods

Miso can be mixed in combination with other ingredients to make salad dressings, sauces, dips, and marinades for meat, poultry, and fish.

The reson that miso is so popular is its healthful and tasty properties.
1. Easy digestion - the fermentation process increases the quantity, availability, digestibility and assimilability of nutrients.
2. It is very flexible ingredient and can be used in a variety of ways.

Nutritional Value of Miso
Two tablespoons of miso provide: Calories 71
Protein (gm) 4.00
Fat (gm) 2.00
Carbohydrate (gm) 9.00
Calcium (mg) 23.00
Iron (mg) 1.00
Zinc (mg) 1.25
Source: Composition of Foods: Legume and Legume Products. United States Department of Agriculture, Human Nutrition Information Service, Agriculture Handbook,


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