Whether you’ve cooked with miso before or you’re yet to try it out in a recipe, it’s always worth knowing a little bit more about what you’re eating! As well as giving you the lowdown on where this unusual kitchen ingredient comes from, we’ve also highlighted exactly how miso might benefit your body…
So, what is miso?
A popular condiment in Japan, miso is basically fermented soybeans which have been turned into a paste. It has a distinctive – and very delicious! – savoury flavour (known as umami in Asia), plus it’s absolutely jam-packed with nutrients which can nourish your body.1
There are several types of miso out there, with some containing additional grains such as millet, rice, and wheat. The most common types are:
- White miso – also known as shiro, this is made from a combination of soybeans and rice. It’s usually only left to ferment for up to two months and has a more subtle taste than other miso.
- Yellow miso – called shinsu in Japanese, this type of miso is left to ferment for longer and has a slightly stronger taste than white miso.
- Red miso – gets its name from its rich colour. Left to ferment for up to three years, it has a much more robust and saltier taste than white or yellow miso.2
Most types of miso are suitable for vegans and those following a gluten-free diet; however, it’s always worth checking the packet just in case.
In addition to enhancing the taste of your meals, miso also has a bevvy of fantastic health benefits!
- It’s bursting with bacteria (the good stuff!)
Due to the fact miso is made by fermenting soybeans (and sometimes other grains), it is naturally packed with beneficial bacteria. These probiotics are great at keeping your gut healthy.3
- It’s high in protein
Due to the fact it’s made from soybeans, miso is actually a fantastic source of protein.4 Protein is needed by almost every cell in our body. It is used for a wide variety of functions, from helping maintain muscle mass.5
- It’s a great source of vitamins
Miso naturally contains a range of essential vitamins and minerals, including zinc and manganese. It’s also a good source of vitamin K, vitamin E, various vitamin Bs and folic acid – all of which are needed by the body to function correctly.6
Despite its undeniable health benefits, you mustn’t overdo it on the miso as it’s also pretty high in sodium. If you have a health condition which means you have to keep your salt intake low, only ever eat miso in moderation.7
How to use miso
There are so many ways to add more miso into your diet! Here’s a handful of inspiring miso uses to try:8
- Add a dollop to some broth and use it as a base for ramen or a veggie soup.
- Spoon a little into a simple salad dressing to add another level of flavour to your summer meals.
- Toss some steamed or sauteed veggies in miso and serve with rice or noodles for a fresh take on your classic stir fry.
- Marinate tofu or fish in miso, mirin, and a little sugar, and then allow it to rest in the fridge for an hour before cooking.
- Glaze some sliced aubergine with white miso paste, mirin, and sugar before grilling in the oven or on the BBQ.
- Try mashing chickpeas, avocado, miso, lemon juice, and sesame oil to create a flavoursome toast topping.
- Create a miso poke bowl with aubergine, edamame beans, rice, avocado and spring onions.
Can’t get enough of hearty and delicious soup? Check out our healthy soup and ready meal cooking ingredients which are ideal for creating mouth-watering broths and warming stews.
Last updated: 3 November 2020